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22/9/2017  
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A critical eye on Islamic indoctrination

Indoctrinating young men —and young women too


There is a link between patriarchal (male) violence and terrorism. And it is especially visible in the case of Yihadism, a movement which arises from a culture (and religion) drenched in patriarchal ideology.
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Sara Martín, a colleague from Barcelona, writes an excellent blog in English, The Joys of Teaching Literature, which I recommend heartily; it deals mostly with literature, cultural studies, science fiction, and university teaching. But  shortly afer the Yihadist terrorist attacks in August she wrote this excellent post on the ideology of many Muslim youngsters: INDOCTRINATING YOUNG MEN. It is much to be recommended, not least because it duly notes the link between patriarchal (male) violence and terrorism. This link is especially visible in the case of Yihadism, a movement which arises from a culture (and religion) drenched in patriarchal ideology. But do read the article and make up your own mind.

As to me, I add this comment:
This is thoughtful and well-argued article, addressing many of the thorny issues sometimes disregarded in connection with Islamic terrorism. I can´t help feeling, though, that the main problem stems from the contradictions in Islam itself: a religion of peace among Muslims (ideally) but quite explicitly one of intolerance and violence with respect to non-Muslims (and with respect to dissidents and ´apostates´). The barbaric and tribalistic roots of the Dark Ages, when this creed was established, are all too evident in its current doctrinal beliefs and practices, even though most well-meaning people disregard or play down the injunctions to violent action against infidels, as it could not be otherwise. With a weak ontology and semiotics, fanatical and exacting in small visible things, and fantastically credulous with far-off invisible and implausible things (as Borges saw it), Islam is ill-equipped to foster or tolerate the kind of critical thought that should lead it to an enlightened reform. As happens elsewhere, "The best lack all conviction, and the worst are full of passionate intensity". With a vengeance in this case. There is indeed lots of work to do, both within and without the Muslim communities: work in ethics, in theology, in public speech, in toleration, and yes, too, on gender issues. The reform in Islam is everywhere about women´s rights, which are in a sorry state in the Middle East and most of Africa.

And in the Muslim communities of Europe, too. But, ay, there´s the rub. "Don´t you reform our women." That is what the hiyabs, burkas and suchlike headgear symbolize, and that is why enlightened thinking can never simply accept such symbols in the name of multicultural toleration. Not that they cannot be tolerated—but we should be aware that it is (un)necessary evils that are tolerated in the name of good will and understanding; they should not be confused with virtues, and they should be subject to enlightened and well-argued criticism. (It is, by the way, a current favorite of our Zeitgeist to require not to be tolerated but accepted wholesale, without any critical position). So, burqas and hiyabs should be tolerated, differentially and taking the specific context into account, but they should never be considered as ideologically netural, or beneficial. We should be much less tolerant with the attempts to transform them into symbols of liberation as has happened of late in the USA, where everything is legit against Trump, including hijabs and burkas, taken as symbols of the benefits of immigration by the Left and by such pernicious iconic trendsetters as Linda Sarsour. The celebrated Sarsour portrait with a hijab with stars and stripes, and an Obamite "Yes-we-can" aesthetics, promoted as an anti-Trump icon, ranks as an all-time low in feminist awareness.

Sarsour has just tweeted that before she decided to wear a hijab, "I was just one more white person in America". Precisely. And becoming an obnoxious icon seems to have played a big part in the decision to wear a hijab as a flag. Sarsour publicly declared that Ayaan Hirsi Ali "should have all her female organs taken away" as Ali did not buy Sarsour´s own definition of what it means to be a woman, or a feminist. This statement was particularly insensitive, and to the point, and an eye-opener, when one takes into account, as Sarsour did in saying this, Ali´s personal history with Islamic laws, involving clitoridectomy, escape, and a heroic resistance and public stand against the Islamic oppression of women. This episode gives an accurate idea of the values and ethics of some "multicultural" icons of so-called moderate —and even "feminist"! —Islam. Such people ought to be denounced for what they are, not turned into trendy icons of liberal movements. And give me Ayaan Hirsi Ali any day, for an enlightened critic and reformer of Islam, and a defender of women´s rights, and a liberal in the original and dignified sense of the word. But you won´t find a million women´s feminist march led by women like Ayaan Hirsi Ali; American feminists and leftists and "women of color" (i.e. non-pinkish color) prefer to rally around the likes of Linda Sarsour, Madonna, or Angela Davis—a close ally of our local Batasuna, this one. That is the problem with spokespeople from the Muslim communities, and that is the problem with leftist feminism in the USA as well.

And to judge from what we saw at the Barcelona demonstration in August, after the terrorist attacks, turning a protest against terrorism into a protest against "Islamophobia" and against Spain --as if the attack had been an Islamophobic attack, or a Spanish attack!!!-- we are not immune to these pitfalls here, either, not in the least, and especially not in the East. In our so-called Leftist parties, Podemos, the nationalists, the Socialist Party, Izquierda Unida, the atmosphere is ripe for Islamophilia instead, and not necessarily having the most enlightened version of Islam in mind.  Which is or should be dismal news for women, whether feminist or not.

   
—oOo—



Simon Harris comments on the Linda Sarsour poster:


 
 

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