This coming Saturday March 8 is International Women’s Day. Founded in the United States in 1909 it’s official recognition resulted from the groundswell of dissatisfied young, female garment and textile workers in New York City. Collectively, they demanded better working conditions and proper wage supplements for the work they produced for themselves and in turn, their families.
One hundred years later, the day has been set aside to celebrate all that is feminine. Italy celebrates this day by handing out yellow mimosas; other countries give flowers and chocolate to the women they love. In recognizing the attributes and many contributions of the female, the goal is to help strengthen every aspect of her life; economically, socially and politically. The achievements of women have found no better place to prosper than in Western democracies where men and women work in tandem to recognize, respect, create and uphold policies that ensure gender equality for the benefit of all. But it is also an opportunity to raise awareness of the plight of women who suffer terrible injustice in the name of Islam.
As political tension, social turmoil, religious fervor and international intolerance escalate in Arab and Muslim states, it is the women of these nations who increasingly bear the brunt of social cruelty. Many feminist groups in the West seem to ignore their plight, preferring to focus their attention on “domestic issues”. There is no doubt that North American and European women’s organizations need to remain diligent on the domestic front but in comparison to the brutal conditions many Muslim women live with daily, these “issues” pale by comparison. Yet feminists are silent.
The crusty matriarchs of the left seem to have traded the welfare of many of today’s most vulnerable women for the comfortable embrace of an increasingly peculiar multicultural ideology, leaving many Muslim girls and women defeated by their abusive, ancestral customs and traditions. More often than not, these women are left to fend for themselves, to navigate the competing cultural differences between the ancient and modern worlds and are left abandoned by the very people who are situated to offer them important and much needed assistance. These nursemaids of a sour and dated feminist agenda allow the growing threat to equality to grow under their own bosom, supporting cultural relativism as a reasonable and thoughtful principle. They further distance themselves from the truth by dismissing necessary and legitimate criticism of extreme, cultural and religious fundamentalism as the rantings of the racist and phobic right. Yet, who better to challenge the oppressive ideals of radical Islam than the recipients of western progress? Clearly the leftist-feministas have become just another ineffective, inaccessable fringe element, leaving the real work of equality to ordinary men and women.
According to a study by the United Nations Population Fund, approximately 5,000 women are murdered each year, worldwide in honour killings. Statistics from countries such as Turkey, Jordan, Pakistan and the Palestinian Authorities show an increase in such crimes. Germany, Sweden, France, the U.K. the U.S. and Canada also show that young Muslim girls are becoming increasingly vulnerable to the preposterous honour/shame code of Islam. The most offensive infraction is the daring, open attempt to assimilate either in part or in the full adoption of the much hated licentious and perverted culture of the western infidel. A non-Muslim boyfriend, the refusal to donn the hijab or being sexually active can grant you a seat of dishonour, a beating or a slab at the morgue. The murder of Mississauga teenager Aqusa Parvez in 2007 was quickly diluted by most mainstream representatives of the Canadian Muslim community. While a scant few openly denounced the crime, namely the Muslim Canadian Congress, most made enthusiastic efforts to deny any religious or cultural ties to the murder, citing it an instance of “domestic violence” a problem “blind to colour or creed”. This sickening and dillusional sentiment was repeated by members of the Islamic Society of North America. (I have to ask myself at this point, would these same apologists of honour killings extend the same cultural relativism banner to their Hindu brothers and sisters who practice the ancient, although rare, funeral practice of Suttee in remote areas of India? If all things are considered leftist relative, would not the Muslim fanatics welcome a Hindu widow immobilating herself on her husband’s burning pyre?). Following Ms.Parvez’s funeral, CAIR-CAN held an anti-violence vigil. This is especially thought provoking when you consider that this organization works very hard to seek acceptance for the implementation of Sharia law in Canada along with the infamous Canadian Islamic Congress. The truth is, honour killings are not, as many would have us believe, a mere act of domestic violence; they are specific and grounded to Islam and it’s abundant, culturally twisted improprieties.
Speaking of vulgarity, forced marriages and polygamy are another two examples of misogyny in full swing. Young women whose familial destinies are planned by fathers and maintained by male relatives usually brothers, are denied the experience of falling in love and often forced to marry strangers twice or three times their age. Male dominance and tribal ownership rights chart the course of a young girl’s life with no opportunity for her to live by her own accord. She is not an authentic individual, a separate human being worthy of her own interests, dreams, hopes, opinions or natural sexual desires. She is chattel; a traded commodity, akin to that of a good goat, passed from one man to another.
Polygamy, of recent discussion in the Canadian news, revealed that many Muslim men living in Canada have several wives and collect welfare payments for each of their “spouses”. In adhering to the standard of good politically correct etiquette, concerns were never raised as to whether this practice has detrimental mental health effects on the women involved or the children produced from such unions. Or, whether this “cultural relative coupling” can even exist within the principles of a gender equality nation. Disharmony is common among multiple women sharing one husband and one household; heirarchial, matrimonial jealousy and the vying of up to 4 women and their children for a husband’s resources is not conducive to marital bliss. In all global communities where polygamy exists, women do not have multiple husbands; once again a chattel call.
Genital mutilation performed on thousands of girls as young as five to secure their chastity, gender segregation, the imposition of the burqua where visual female identity is stripped en masse, polygamy, forced marriage, pedophilia, stonings, imprisonment, honour killings and the absence of proper education and health care continue daily in the name of culture, tradition and submission to the peaceful and pious religion of Islam. High infant mortality rates, birth defects, incest, malnutrition, AIDS/HIV, poverty, illiteracy, high unemployment, social rage and the absolute intolerance of democracy and all other religions are dominant in countries ruled by Islamic extremism. Women and their children continue to be the majority of the victims of these human rights violations.
Ayaan Hirsi Ali, author of “Infidel” poignantly describes her trouble with Islam and it’s relentless, hisorical assault toward women. Her primary concern has been to point to the continuous and unapologetic oppression and gender violence in the name of Allah. By her example, we can inspire ourselves to reject our own western bondage of political correctness and critically examine the religious and cultural beliefs of a minority whose history of violence and intolerance speaks for itself. One can gauge a societies’ progress by watching how it treats its’ women and as Canadians and Westerners we can be deeply impressed and proud of our values, our societies and our adherence to egalitarianism. Arab and Muslim nations cannot claim the same.
On March 8, denounce these terrible infractions of human rights. Defend the pursuit of women’s equality worldwide with vigor and challenge those who would deny the cruelty, tyranny and the moral corruption that a rigid Islam imposes. Offer to help with aid relief for the many who are suffering. Support progressive Muslims who challenge the regressive and totalitarian nature of their religion. Expose and ridicule the many imams who preach misogyny and hatred in mosques in and outside of Western countries. Support Western governments who work enthusiastically to maintain gender equality and freedom of thought and association. Denounce sharia law and challenge the wearing of the burqua as an apparel of “choice”. Counter insincere feminists who turn a blind, left political eye to these abuses. And then on March 9, do it again.