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Auē Tēnei Wiki: Saudi Therapist Gives Advice on Wife Beating

Look CrowOver and over again conservative representatives of Islam try to tell us that not only are women respected within their religion, they are more respected than women in secular countries. Any criticism of the treatment of women is dismissed as lack of understanding, or misunderstanding.

Up to a point I can understand these attitudes displayed towards women from men brought up in a conservative Muslim society. The examples of their lives from their earliest childhood have been to treat women as being of less value than men. The role of women in their lives has been fixed in their minds and they have also been taught that their god designed them for that role.

There are several passages from the Qur’an and hadiths that support women being placed in a secondary role. Some examples (from WikiIslam):

Surah 2:223 – Women are your planting place (for children); come then to your planting place as you please and forward (good deeds) for your souls, and fear Allah. And know that you shall meet Him. Give glad tidings to the believers.

Sahih Bukhari 7:62:125 – Narrated ‘Abdullah bin Abbas: The Prophet then said, “I saw Paradise (or Paradise was shown to me), and I stretched my hand to pluck a bunch (of grapes), and had I plucked it, you would have eaten of it as long as this world exists. Then I saw the (Hell) Fire, and I have never before, seen such a horrible sight as that, and I saw that the majority of its dwellers were women.” The people asked, “O Allah’s Apostle! What is the reason for that?” He replied, “Because of their ungratefulness.” It was said. “Do they disbelieve in Allah (are they ungrateful to Allah)?” He replied, “They are not thankful to their husbands and are ungrateful for the favors done to them. Even if you do good to one of them all your life, when she seems some harshness from you, she will say, “I have never seen any good from you.’ ”

Surah 4:34 – Men are the maintainers of women for that Allah has preferred in bounty one of them over another, and for that they have spent of their wealth. Righteous women are obedient, guarding in secret that which Allah has guarded. Those from whom you fear rebelliousness, admonish them and desert them in the bed and beat them (without harshness). Then, if they obey you, do not look for any way against them. Allah is High, Great.

What I can’t forgive is men and women who have been brought up in modern secular democracies being supportive of those attitudes within modern society. Situations such as the feminist and LGBT groups at London’s Goldsmith University supporting the Muslim brothers group there against Maryam Namazie is frankly appalling. The president of the university’s Islamic Society even co-opted the language of the authoritarian left when demanding that Namazie be denied a platform at the university – he wrote: “We feel having her present, will be a violation to our safe space …”. Since when has an Islamic society worried about the “safe space” of feminists, LGBT people, and apostates (Namazie is a former Muslim)?

The situation at British universities seems to be deteriorating further with the news last week of the election of Malia Bouattia as the new president of Britain’s National Union of Students. Ms Bouattia has extreme anti-Zionist views and last year led the campaign that prevented the National Union of Students from condemning ISIS – she said such condemnation would be Islamophobic. Several universities, including Oxford, Cambridge, Manchester, Birmingham, York, Exeter and Aberystwyth, and Kings College London, have since announced that they feel the union no longer represents them and signalled their intention to withdraw.

The video below was posted on the internet in Saudi Arabia on 24 February 2016, and last week MEMRI published it with English subtitles. It features family therapist Khaled Al-Saqaby addressing the issue of how to beat your wife:

Here’s my transcript, copied from the MEMRI translation:

Assalaam Alaykum. Allah’s blessing upon you.

Welcome to our show, which will deal with wife beating. I am aware that this issue is a thorny one, which contains many hazards, but Allah willing, we will cross this bridge safely.

I believe that the problem arises when husbands do not understand how to deal with disobedience. Some women disobey their husbands and make mistakes with them, and their husbands think this is due to inadequate treatment (of disobedience).

Allah said: “As for those on whose part you fear disobedience – advise them.”

This is the first step in disciplining one’s wife. First, remind her of your rights and of her duties, according to Allah.

Then comes the second stage – forsaking her (in bed). Here too, some husbands make mistakes, which might exacerbate the problem even further. If, for example, the husband leaves his bed and goes to another house, everybody knows that there is a problem. The point of forsaking her in bed is to discipline the wife, and not to air your dirty laundry in public. Allah said: “Forsake them in bed” – which means that you should stay in bed with her, but turn your back to her, or else sleep in a separate bed in the same room.

By the way, as a woman once told me, this is the most ingenious way to discipline a wife. If the husband leaves the room, it is easier for her than if he remains with her but turns his back to her, or if he sleeps on the floor while she sleeps in the bed, or vice versa.

Then comes the third stage – the issue of beating. We have to understand that the aim is to discipline, not to vent one’s anger. The necessary Islamic conditions for beating must be met. The beating should not be performed with a rod such as this one. [Holds up a thick, knobbly tree branch.] Nor should it be with a headband [which would act like a whip], which some husbands use (to beat their wives), or with a sharp object, which, I’m sad to say, some husbands use. It should be done with something like the sewak tooth-cleaning twig [pulls sewak from pocket and holds it up] – Ibn Abbas said that she should be beaten with a sewak, like this one, or with a handkerchief, because the goal is merely to make the wife feel that she was wrong in the way she treated her husband.

There are things that the husband does and there are things that the wife does which may lead the husband to beat his wife. The opposite might also happen: the wife might hit her husband. The first reason for this is the faulty upbringing of some husbands, unfortunately. They live in an environment where they might see the father beating his wife, and they imitate this behaviour.

Undoubtedly, some of the causes pertain to the wife. Let me mention two of the many causes. The first is arguments between the wife and her husband. A life of equality – you do something, and I’ll do the same. This is a very grave problem. In addition, sometimes a woman makes mistakes that might lead her husband to beat her. I’m sad to day that there are some women who say: “Go ahead. If you are a real man, beat me.” She provokes him.

Wife Obey Husband Islam 2013I don’t even know where to start with this there are so many statements that are problematic. The whole attitude from beginning to end is the one that Al-Saqaby openly states at the end: “A[n expectation of a] life of equality … This is a very grave problem.”

Within Islam it is simply accepted that a women must always obey her husband. There are consequences written into the Qur’an for women who do not do this and as they believe these are divinely commanded by Allah, they are not questioned. Indeed, Al-Saqaby’s contention that the third stage of punishment, the beating, should be with a sewak is an extremely moderate position for Saudi Arabia. There are well known cases in that country where women who were raped were sentenced to a punishment of up to 200 lashes because at the time they were out without their husband.

Every time a well-meaning group sticks up for an Islamist cause, they are by extension supporting the laws of countries like Saudi Arabia. These include:

* death penalty for blasphemy
* death penalty for acts of homosexuality
* death by stoning for adultery if married
* 100 lashes for adultery if not married
* amputation of right hand for stealing
* amputation of a hand and a foot for banditry

Everyday life in Saudi Arabia is governed by the ultra-conservative interpretation of the Qur’an by its leaders. Women can’t drive of course. It’s not actually illegal, it’s just that clerics refuse to give permission to issue them to women arguing that it would “undermine social values.” Coffee shops have walls separating male and female customers. Recently such a wall in a Starbucks in Riyadh was removed during renovations and a sign appeared in the window:

Please no entry for ladies only send your driver to order thank you.

According to The Week:

A customer who tweeted a picture of the sign, which was written in English and Arabic, said the store “refused to serve me just because I’m a woman and asked me to send a man instead”.

In a statement, the shop said: “We are working as quickly as possible as we refurbish our Jarir store, so that we may again welcome all customers in accordance with local customs.”

Other things women aren’t allowed to do include:

* Open a bank account without her husband’s permission;
* Leave the house without a male guardian, known as a mahram;
* Wear clothes that “show off their beauty” (as per the king’s advisory Shoura Council);
* Go swimming. Even at upmarket hotels women cannot go near the pool because men wearing swimsuits are there;
* Play sport except wearing Sharia-compliant sportswear that covers the whole body and the hair;
* Try on clothes in a store;
* Enter a cemetery;
* Read a fashion magazine that hasn’t been approved by censors;
* Buy a Barbie doll.

Also, most public buildings including offices, banks and universities have separate entrances for men and women. Public spaces such as transport, parks, and beaches also have separate areas for men and women. Not complying is a criminal act for both men and women though women are usually punished more harshly.

We all know what would happen if any man in a Western democracy produced a video explaining how to beat your wife. Yet when such things come from Islam too many are prepared to accept them. Because a majority of the world’s Muslims are people of colour it’s somehow become unacceptable to criticize anything about their religion as if it’s a form of racism. It’s not.

Family violence, whoever commits it, is wrong. There is no way to make it acceptable, including religion. A large proportion of the leaders of Islam teach that women should not be treated equally to men. That is not okay and those who continue to give Islam a pass in such situations need to examine their views carefully. By not opposing Muslims who do not treat women as equals they are supporting that same treatment.

33 Responses to “Auē Tēnei Wiki: Saudi Therapist Gives Advice on Wife Beating”

  1. rickflick says:

    This is indeed troubling. I suspect that if you look back to earlier eras in Europe and America, you’d find some of the same attitudes about women as second class citizens. The covering of the body, the access to money, education, etc. It seems that in Iran in the 1970s, for instance, western culture had made inroads and women were given more rights, but that has been eroded since the Ayatollahs came to power. Saudi Arabia is an example of a culture frozen in time, and seemingly immune from progress. The Wahhabi sect of Islam is firmly in control. It’s difficult to see how that can change. I understand that things are slowly moving forward there, but if true, it is moving at the pace of a glacier. Saudi Arabia gives me a headache.

    • The old king wasn’t too bad in comparison with the Wahhabi lawmakers. He vocally supported giving women more rights. The new one seems to be in complete concert with the Wahhabis. The number of executions, for example, has gone through the roof since he became king. It’s hard to know yet whether this is a long-term trend – he’s 80 years old. I don’t know enough about his heir presumptive to make any predictions about the future.

      • rickflick says:

        I suspect these trends in politics oscillate one way and then another until something big happens to change the overall trend.

        • I have more hope for Iran, Iraq, Turkey, Syria, Lebanon, and Jordan, and maybe Egypt. Yemen, Pakistan, Saudi, and the other gulf states are more problematic.s

          Yes, I did say Iran – it was good for women before the extremists took over, and I don’t think they can last. Their grip is being forced to loosen to avoid total rebellion, and I think that will continue. The next ten years are critical. Despite the Ayatollahs saying things about wiping Israel off the map, the country itself is actually the least prejudiced towards Jews in the Middle East. I think there’s a lot to be hopeful about there, as long as the West doesn’t stick it’s sticky beak in without invitation.

  2. The Paxton marshall says:

    Terrible, but many evangelical Christians cite Biblical authority for requiring a wife to obey her husband. And equal rights for women, even as an abstract principle, is still quite recent in the west, and in practice has still not been achieved. The subordination of women to men is nearly universal in traditional societies, and still common in many.

    I expect that few in the west defend the treatment of women in many Islamic societies. But many of us object to continually singling out Islam as the primary problem, and excusing or ignoring the devastation the west has inflicted on Muslims, both men and women. What I think young people like Malua are saying is, let’s clean our own house before we set out to demolish the houses of others.

    • What the West has done to the people of many Muslim countries has nothing to do with how Islam treats women, and is no excuse for it. The fact that Christianity and most other religions do the same is irrelevant too. I am not prepared to ignore the plight of women who were unlucky enough to be born into a conservative society, whatever the culture or religion.

      And if you think Malia Bouattia is just a young person saying, “let’s clean our own house before we set out to demolish the houses of others,” you’re projecting your own views onto her. The NUS resolution condemning IS was extremely mild and addressed at length the issue of Western intervention. On the same day they refused to condemn IS, they did condemn UKIP and e-mailed every student in the country to encourage them not to vote for the party. I completely understand condemning UKIP, but the fact they found that easier than condemning ISIS and expressing support for the Kurds is telling.

      They also resolved last year (or maybe earlier) to support BDS. Bouattia has made multiple anti-Semitic statements, which she always excuses as being anti-Zionist. Several Jewish student groups have complained about statements she has made and express feeling threatened by her.

      She was also part of the group that offered resolution 512. From the Observer:

      Just this past March [2015], the Student Union held a Women Conference in which its members advanced some of the most bizarre resolutions one could possibly imagine. In one resolution, titled “Motion 512” members called on gay white men to stop acting like black women. You can’t make this stuff up. The motion claimed that white gay men needed to stop claiming to have an “inner black woman” because, after all, they “benefit from white and male privilege.”

      Seriously Paxton, imagine you are a Saudi Arabian women, required to live by the rules of a conservative Islamic society, hoping for some support or at least sympathy and understanding from someone in the West, then read again what you wrote.

    • Yakaru says:

      “But many of us object to continually singling out Islam as the primary problem, and excusing or ignoring the devastation the west has inflicted on Muslims”

      You keep saying this, Paxton, as if it is impossible to criticize Islam without ignoring what the west has done. It’s illogical. And no one here is doing it. (And I dispute that anyone really does it, but we’ve been down that road before.)

      As Heather points out in the post, Muslims and ex-Muslims who oppose this get shouted down by Westerners who should be on their side.

      • The Paxton marshall says:

        Yakaru, I support reformers of all religions who work to align their religions with enlightened concepts of social justice, i.e. Equal rights for all. I think liberal Protestants have made considerable progress over the past century. RC Christianity, not so much, although John 23 and the current pope have made some efforts. Such liberal reform requires a degree of peace and prosperity, which most Muslim countries have not had. Most of the reform we want falls under human rights and we should prioritize these objectives through the UN and through our diplomatic relations. But I adamantly reject calls to try to reform other countries by regime change, and military attacks, whether these calls come from Ted Cruz or Ayaan Hirsi Ali. So when you say westerners should be on the side of Muslim and ex-Muslim reformers, it very much depends on the objectives and means they advocate.

    • Yiam Cross says:

      Equal rights for women were trampled into the dust as Christianity and then Islam stampeded across the globe. The fact that other religions are as bad as Islam is no excuse for defending it, no religion offers anything worthwhile that any decent human being could not live by without it but most, if not all, force a lot of bad on adherents and abstainers which would not exist without religion. That’s a good enough reason to eliminate religion all on its own.

  3. The Paxton marshall says:

    Heather, as I said, I too feel badly for the plight of women in Saudi Arabia and other Muslim countries. Also in India, Africa and elsewhere. I feel badly for most of the men living in these countries too, as in North Korea, China and the occupied territories. Because I try to provide some perspective on a problem doesn’t mean I deny it exists. But I don’t think my sympathy and understanding, or yours provides much comfort for any of these people, and i don’t believe they have been, or will be helped by western interventions.

    The example you gave about Malia condemning the UKIP, but not ISIS, actually makes my point. Clean up our own house before destroying others’ houses. What would a student condemnation of ISIS accomplish? Provide support for ongoing British bombing? Perhaps implicitly approve of the original Blair invasion? Surely it would have little impact on ISIS. Injecting student activism into British politics, on the other hand could produce some real results. Witness the outpouring of “snowflakes” for Bernie in the US. If they haven’t yet done so they should introduce a resolution condemning British interference in the Middle East from Sykes-Picot to the present, including the Balfour declaration. Britain has much to atone for its imperialist intrusions around the world. And as Malia no doubt recognizes, it’s not just a matter of atoning for the past it us a matter of changing the policies of the present and the future.

    Many groups have supported BDS, and while I would prefer seeing the US suspend all aid to Israel until they dismantle settlements and enter into serious peace negotiations, that’s not about to happen. Under the circumstances, BDS is perhaps the most feasible approach to putting pressure on the Israeli government. (I certainly support labeling requirements for all Israeli products made in the settlements). While there are no doubt anti-Semites supporting BDS, I don’t see the movement itself as anti-Semitic. Many American Jews support it (eg JVP).

    Two final points. Gay white males have, can, and do benefit from male privilege and white privilege in a way a black woman cannot. And for those who didn’t watch the video, the Islamic family therapist sai women should only be beaten with a handkerchief or a toothpick, in other words women should not really be beaten.

    • Yakaru says:

      I’m really quite speechless, that anyone could read an article about Saudi clerics advocating the beating of women, and suggest, of all things, the BDS movement as a solution. Just because many Arab Muslims have a hysterical and disproportionate emotional response to Israel is no reason for anyone else to follow them down that rabbit hole of distraction. It’s Israel’s existence, not Israel’s (comparatively minuscule) human rights abuses that upsets them. They don’t care about their own massive human rights abuses.

      • Ken says:

        That’s not at all fair, Yakaru, and incredibly misleading. Paxton simply did not suggest BDS as a solution to anything in Saudi Arabia or in response to the original article at all, but only in response to Heather using it as an example.

        Pax, just thinking aloud, but why not a BDS movement targeting Saudi products, especially oil, as a means of putting pressure on their govt to change? They are no less deserving, it seems to me, and have had almost as much support from the US and others for their bad behaviour as Israel.

        • Yakaru says:

          If that’s what Paxton meant, then I would retract my comment. But re-reading it, that’s still not how it comes across to me.

        • The Paxton marshall says:

          Thanks Ken. Yes, I would support a BDS of Saudi Arabia. And the west should stop selling them arms.

          Yakaru, yes I was responding to Heather’s criticism of Malia supporting BDS, not as a solution to Saudi’s beating women. But I think holding people in captivity for 50 years is not a minuscule human rights abuse. If they wNt the West Bank, they need to absorb it residents and make them Israeli citizens. If they don’t want Gaza, they need to end the blockade and set them free. pax

          • Yakaru says:

            Thanks for explaining that to me, Paxton. I’d completely missed that you were referring to the post. I guess I need to start drinking coffee again in the morning…

            In that case, essentially, yes, more or less, to all of what you said. Though I would find a more successful and better directed campaign than BDS as a model. (I think with Israel there is enough support for human rights in large sections of society for it to be possible to talk to these people, rather than just screaming at them like many — not you — carry on with.) This emotionally charged and divisive approach, holding the entire country to account for the actions of a few doesn’t work with Israel, and would work even less with Saudi Arabia, even though the population consists of far more religious crazies than Israel (according to the polls of attitudes to ethics).

            I do think an important part of opposing Saudi Arabia is supporting its dissidents and trying to get them out of jail, and trying to stop the spread of Salafism to Muslims living in democracies. Here in Germany, the problem is not as openly visible as in the UK, but they are spreading through jails and into religiously based schools. They can get away with it, especially in the schools, because any hint at subjecting religious schools to closer scrutiny gets opposed by the Church.

            I think we need to start limiting the political power of religion in society and try to make it more acceptable to hold religious ideas up to scrutiny. Obviously, this can’t be done effectively as long as religious minorities are discriminated against, so there’s also a place to start…

            Etc. Rant ended.

  4. paxton marshall says:

    Of all the profound changes wrought by the ongoing industrial revolution, perhaps the most consequential is the alteration in relations between men and women. It is generally accepted that human success and evolution was largely due to our superior ability to cooperate with one another. As far back as we have evidence, the foundational relationship enabling this cooperation has been the mother-father pair bond, allowing extended education of children and forming the basic economic relationship. Yes, cheating occurred, as in all pair bonded species, and rich and powerful men always had access to additional women, but the essentially polygamous social structure of the chimpanzee (and presumably our common ancestor) was long replaced by monogamous bonding by the time we emerged into the light of history.

    But monogamy does not imply equality and in virtually all societies we know, males superior strength allowed them to achieve physical dominance over women. This dominance was enforced, but also mitigated by various religious, legal, and moral codes, but until the last century remained almost universal.

    But in the industrial age the family unit is no longer the basic economic unit of production. The advent of employment opportunities for women freed them from economic dependence on men. The result, along with women’s legal equality in “enlightened” countries, is the fraying of the basic man-woman pair as the bulwark of society. Women are free to not have children by means of contraception and abortion or to have children outside of marriage. Non-childproducing homosexual relationships have become acceptable, and even gender identities have become more fluid. Many traditionalists see these trends as threats to the very foundation of society. The more their traditional ways are threatened, the more they cling to rigid definitions of traditional mores. Just as economic and technological progress has not been uniform around the earth, so social and moral progress is not uniform. We should be critical, but not censorious of those who have been left behind both economically and morally.

  5. Yakaru says:

    “those who have been left behind both economically and morally”

    Interesting set of assumptions you’ve got there.

    • The hypocrisy of this is one of the parts of Christianity that annoys me the most. Jerome, now St Jerome (of course), is the bloke that translated the Bible into Latin. He was an arch-misogynist – his writings are full of anti-women stuff. He deliberately mistranslated parts of the Bible to make women of lower status than their husbands and bound to be submissive to them. This was known right from the start – it wasn’t like Jerome was the only person in the Roman Empire who understood Greek, Hebrew etc. Then when the Bible was eventually translated into the vernacular in other European languages it was either directly from the Latin (Vulgate), or the Vulgate was used as the authority when the translations were done using multiple sources. The RC Church, and every Christian Church since, has chosen to accept Jerome’s version, and have not corrected what he wrote.

  6. paxton marshall says:

    “The state estimates that 1 in 4 Chinese women are beaten; experts think the figure is higher and note that statistics often exclude other forms of abuse. Tens of millions are at risk.”

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/sf/world/2016/05/02/china-domestic/?wpmm=1&wpisrc=nl_most

    • In a lot of places in the West it’s not much better. These days there are still a lot of women who are encouraged to just put up with a certain level of abuse from their husband, and of course there are some men in that position too. Fifty years ago in NZ most people thought the idea of a man raping his wife was ridiculous, and I suspect most culturally similar countries were the same.

  7. paxton marshall says:

    Meanwhile anti-Muslim sentiment continues to grow in the US and throughout the west.

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/it-could-get-a-lot-worse-for-muslims-in-america/2016/05/03/7f651196-1166-11e6-93ae-50921721165d_story.html?tid=hybrid_experimentrandom_3_na

    How is Trump’s rhetoric toward Muslims different than that of Sam Harris?

    • Ken says:

      As far as I know, Sam still attempts to focus on the religion rather than Muslims as people, though that’s becoming a harder distinction for him to maintain in the current climate. While he strongly implies that “something needs to be done”, I don’t think he has said much specifically about what, unless I have missed it. I think he is on record opposing pretty much all of what Trump has said about locking out refugees and sending Muslims already here somewhere else. He believes the US has done a better job at integrating Muslims into communities than several European countries have and that they are the ones with a big problem. So I think his rhetoric is quite different than Trump’s in some very important ways, even if it does in broad terms provide support for Trump’s extremism.

      • Yakaru says:

        Yes, one of the problems here in Germany is that as soon as refugees arrive here, the media tends to focus — albeit often well-meaningly — on their religion, assuming that there is a monolithic category “Muslim”. I would be happier though if Germany stood up to the oppressive culture that is very prominent at the moment in the Muslim world, but not because “it’s alien to German culture” but because it’s against universal human rights. Likewise, their oppression should not be tolerated by the left in the name of multiculturalism, but rather opposed for the same reason.

        As for Sam, yes, I’ve heard him repeatedly say that he is opposed to Trump’s fascist anti-Muslim ideas. I switch off from him when he keeps banging on about religion, and often I find his political analysis a bit thin, but I think that part of that is because he feels the issue gets too little emphasized. I kinda agree, but I also think it’s good to try slicing a problem a few different ways and see what it looks like, especially if each run at it seems to result in you just banging your head into the wall.

        Luckily there are a great many other thinkers, especially reformist- and ex-Muslims who are beginning to get more coverage.

      • If I’d commented before Yakaru, I would’ve said pretty much exactly what she said.

        I do find the climate in the US has become more anti-Muslim and I blame that almost entirely on the GOP primary, especially the hate- and fear-mongering of Trump.

        A couple of hours ago I saw an interview Bret Baier (Fox) did with Trump. Trump said, with a completely straight face and total sincerity, that he didn’t think he took the low road and he didn’t like doing it. Then he immediately doubled down on his comments from two days ago linking Rafael Cruz with the assassination of JFK. “There’s a photo,” he said with seriousness.

  8. paxton marshall says:

    Misogyny in India: https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/asia_pacific/an-indian-teenager-was-raped-by-her-father-village-elders-had-her-whipped/2016/05/09/f6d6c840-c531-11e5-8965-0607e0e265ce_story.html?wpmm=1&wpisrc=nl_most

    Why do anti-religious atheists continually focus on Islam and ignore the barbarities in other cultures? India’s caste system is one of the worst products of religion produced anywhere, and remains vastly influential. Yet certain Islam-bashers vacation with rich Indians, rave about the food, but offer nary a word about the horrible injustices of Hindu culture.

    • We don’t ignore the barbarities in other cultures. India admits they have a problem and are working on fixing it. The West admits there is still a problem with sexism (though there are plenty who deny it) and are constantly working on it. Islam, on the other hand, denies there is a problem. I’m in the middle of writing a post about the treatment of women in Islam, so you’ll get your chance to vent your disgust with me soon.

  9. paxton marshall says:

    Not disgust Heather, just criticism of your lack of balance when discussing the evils of Islam. I don’t think you can generalize about cultures containing hundreds of millions of people so succinctly. India is working on fixing the problem? Who in India. I expect most Indians still believe a husband has authority over his wife. A friend’s daughter married a rich Indian and went to India to live with him. She has all the luxuries but practically no freedom whatsoever. She cannot go out of the house without permission. Islam denies there is a problem? Who speaks for Islam? Sure you can find Muslims who defend men’s authority over women, but I have known Muslim couples where the wife dominated the husband. But how would someone like Jerry Coyne, who says he has never known a Muslim except an ex-Muslim know that? He does know Indians but never seems to comment on Hindu misogyny or other inhumane horrors.

    I wouldn’t object so much to the Islam bashing if the US weren’t actively bombing and droning defenseless Muslims on a daily basis, and providing arms for murderous regimes like Saudi Arabia to commit genocide in Yemen. As the rise of Trump indicates, Islamophobia is rampant in the US, and among its most active practitioners are self-described liberals like Harris and Coyne.

    • The Indian government is working on this. This cannot be changed overnight because it is to do with attitudes. You can find plenty of people in the US who believe the husband has complete authority over the wife and give them little or no freedom.

      I’ll comment further on the other post.

    • Yakaru says:

      I find the term “Muslimophobia” preferable to “Islamophobia”. (Obviously, judging people according to their religious identity is reprehensible, while criticizing religious doctrine not only acceptable, but necessary for religious development. Just ask Moses, Jesus, or Mohammed.)

      I also think you are polarizing these issues unnecessarily. There is no reason why someone should not speak up for oppressed women merely because the US military uses drones.

      And it is perfectly reasonable to note ingrained cultural problems which are embedded in religious doctrines, and to do so without needing to add layers of qualifications about other problems and other cultures which are completely irrelevant to the problem. (Both Australia and New Zealand were complicit in helping Indonesian Muslims commit genocide against East Timorese Catholics, but that does not disqualify either me or Heather from criticizing the Catholic Church.)

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