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December 8, 2004

On An "Open letter to Ayaan Hirsi Ali"

Topics: International News

Zacht Ei in the Netherlands has this interesting post today on Ayaan Hirsi Ali , the Dutch MP that is working on a follow-up project to "Submission", the controversial film made with murdered filmmaker Theo van Gogh. His post is actually on the post of another Dutch blogger, Amsterdamed Opinionated. His post is short so I'll present it here in it's entirety:

There are more liberated Muslim women in the world, and not all of them agree with the approach Dutch MP Ayaan Hirsi Ali is taking. Here's an open letter from a Moroccan woman who grew up in Amsterdam, where she nearly died on the hands of her brother. Essential quotes:

'Ironically my brother, the one who beat me senseless at mother's orders, fell madly in love with a non-Muslim girl later on. My mother again felt compelled to intervene and forced him to marry a distant cousin, who she recognized as the perfect submissive mate. Never mind the fact that my brother already fathered a child in secret with his beautiful intelligent non-Muslim girlfriend. Amazingly enough his marriage turned out to be a success, which I personally attribute solely to a union between two submissive individuals. No doubt, my darling brother who constantly followed mother's orders, regardless what his heart told him, is indeed relentlessly submissive.

(...)
I too escaped an honor killing by a hair. Another one of my brothers attempted to slit my throat, because Islamofascists in Amsterdam's coffee shops filled his head with nonsense when I became too westernized. Never mind that sibling rivalry was the true core of the matter. My brother wished his whole life that I didn't exist, simply because I excelled at everything where he had failed and he was teased and tormented incessantly by family members, all because his little sister beat him in matters of academics as well as in sports, just to name a few. If it wasn't for my older brother who came to my rescue I would have been dead by now.

So you see in just two examples I mentioned, I was rescued by valiant Muslim MEN not women.'  Read more here.

The interesting thing about the article that Zacht Ei points to is not simply one woman having a different opinion than another woman concerning Muslim men, it is really a matter of two women having problems with Islam, one of them choosing to fight from the outside (AHA), the other woman choosing to fight from within (Amsterdamned Opinionated - AO). Let's take a moment to look at the closing of this open letter that is on AO's site:

So my dear AHA, please forgive me if I discard your points view at this time right along with the Steinems and the likes. It seems to me you're quite a novice to the radical side of feminism. Even some of the hard-core feminists by now, as old age is setting in, have expressed regrets on some of the things they did or did not do. I encourage you to learn from their mistakes as well as yours and for goodness sakes do the right thing.

AHA, I must admit that I envy you for one thing: The fact that you hold a leadership position where you could accomplish a great many things which would benefit society as a whole, rather than destroy it. So, my dear AHA, I wish you good luck with Submission II. It's probably too late for me to reach you while it's in the making, but deep in my heart I hope you come to see the light in Submission III, where hopefully you can include all aspects of oppression, because after all we are all part of the problem as well as the solution, men and women alike.

Regards,
Myrtus

We see now that it's more than just a different point of view about Muslim men, it really is a case of AO being a faithful Muslim women willing to remain so and willing to take the blows necessary to fight from within. Indeed, she is identifying some Muslim women to be as much the problem as Muslim men, and also the real issue to be that of unbridled submission and oppression, neither of which does she (AO) perceive as belonging to the Islam she believes in. Where AHA has choosen to attempt to make changes in Islam from the outside, AO has chosen to try to change Islam from within. AO even refers to AHA as a "Gloria Steinem." AO's piece is an interesting read, it's almost like watching a cat fight. For example, at one point AO says;

It seems to me that you're on a mission with a personal vendetta trying to score even, because of what's been done to you personally. Hey, believe me, I probably would too if I were minus a clit.

Whoa, I don't think us guys could get away with that. Now which of these two cats is right? If one believes that a system, institution, or faith has done them wrong or is wrong, is it more effective to fight from the inside or from the outside? Not clear here, both women have suffered greatly by their faith and because of it. Both believe strongly in what they are fighting for, each in their own way. What is clear is that Islamic fundamentalism is abusive to both men and women, and also that there are Muslims who are both at piece with their faith and also see a need for reforms in their faith.

If there is a point here, it's to be made in the form of a question, and that is what can this one-sided discourse tell us about Islam and what the world is now having to deal with? All I can offer on this is that if these two women feel the way they do about the submissiveness and oppression rampant in radical Islam, we've got problems in Kansas.

Posted by Hyscience at December 8, 2004 2:13 PM



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