“Islamophobia is a disease”- claims Sherene Hassan in Melbourne, brought on by none other than Ayaan Ali Hirsi. No doubt the cure for this disease lies in more Islam. Sherene Hassan is ‘oppressed’- the usual Islamo-victim-speak, because as long as infidels rule with ‘man-made laws’ there can be only ‘injustice’- because only Islam and sharia, Allah’s law, can bring justice and free the Muhammedans among us from oppression, got it you Islamophobe?
EACH morning, when I cover my head with a pastel-coloured silk scarf and step out into suburbia, I am transformed from being a middle-class, educated mother of four.
My colourful hijab makes me a symbol of oppression.
I have already heard the latest negative news story on the radio involving Muslims.
I resist the urge to retreat to the safety of my doona. I go on to face a day when awkward smiles at passers-by are so often met with looks of disdain or pity.
Things were looking up for Muslims. I noticed with some relief that we had managed to avoid the headlines for four consecutive weeks.
“Its all her fault”: Ali Hirsi
This dramatically changed in the aftermath of Ayaan Hirsi Ali’s scathing attack on Islam’s treatment of women two weeks ago.
Now more than ever, Islam has become inextricably linked with misogyny.
Hmmm. Wonder why that is?
Ali’s chilling account of the mutilation she was forced to endure as a child rang alarm bells across the nation, and rightly so.
This deplorable act warrants nothing less than unequivocal condemnation.
But the Islamophobic onslaught by talkback callers after her visit was disturbing.
You may have missed Ali noting that female genital mutilation predated Islam because this was almost never emphasised. This, however, does not make it any less true.
Evidence from mummies suggests that female circumcision originated in the Nile valley 4000 years ago.
To this day, it is practised in parts of Africa by some Muslims and Christians and animist tribes.
Nevertheless, Ali’s broader message especially as popularly understood, remains clear.
Islam is responsible for perpetuating this vicious practice as evidenced by the Somali imams in her village.
They insisted on it, she said, to “keep girls pure”. Ali is far less forthcoming about the Christian and animist tribes who do the same.
But it seems we are only comfortable thinking of female genital mutilation as an “Islamic practice.”
* Better ask your imam or your mufti, Sherene, because they think so too.
The same might be said of so-called honour killings, which as fate would have it, also found their way into the headlines last week.
The Daily Telegraph in Britain revealed that 20-year-old Kurd Banaz Mahmod was murdered and buried in a back garden because her parents disapproved of her relationship with an Iranian man.
The report drew a link between honour killings and Islam. It said some Muslim communities in Britain practised sharia law and there was an increase in observance of sharia law partly because of “the rise of Islamic fundamentalism”.
But, here again, we are talking about a pre-Islamic multi-faith phenomenon.
* Not at all, Sherene. Not pre-historic at all. About 130 cases in England alone. More than thousand every year in Jordan. Uncounted others all over Islamistan from Turkey to Timbuktu. Why deny it, Sherene?
Honour killings have their roots in ancient Hammurabi and Assyrian law.
In the UK, officials state that Italian and Greek migrant families have committed similar atrocities.
* BS !
Are we to believe that they too are adhering to Islamic sharia? I think not.
The existence of such a barbaric practice in the 21st century is utterly appalling.
* Why don’t you tell your co-religionists, Sherene?
But while those like Ali claim to champion the cause of Muslim women, in reality their actions are counterproductive.
All they achieve by lambasting the faith that has enriched the lives of millions is to alienate the very people they purport to serve.
I am not averse to robust discussion to attempt to find solutions to the problems plaguing some Muslim nations, but it is vital that any discourse involves discussion with mainstream Muslims.
Clearly a more nuanced approach is needed to deal with such issues rather than placing Islam and Muslims in the dock.
* We are waiting for your ‘nuanced’ approach, Sherene! With baited breath!
SHERENE HASSAN is an executive committee member of the Islamic Council of Victoria
* You know something Sherene: Why should we infidels take the word of some Islamic female if her witness is only worth half of a man’s? Besides, the cat is out of the bag. We have eyes and ears, and every day there are less of us who would have twits like you pull the wool over our eyes and ears…