by Robert Spencer
Leftist and Islamic supremacist thugs are planning to protest the Islamic Apartheid Conference that the David Horowitz Freedom Center is sponsoring at Temple University Monday. Hosted by Students for Intellectual Freedom, the Conference will feature Pamela Geller, Nonie Darwish, Simon Deng and me. In reporting on the coming protests, however, the Philadelphia City Paper noted only that “two of America’s most high-profile anti-Muslim bigots” will be speaking – Geller and me – and doesn’t mention Darwish or Deng even once. The omission was telling, revealing the hypocrisy of the protests as a whole.
Nonie Darwish is an ex-Muslim who grew up learning hatred for Infidels in a Muslim school in Gaza. Simon Deng is a South Sudanese Christian who was held as a slave by Muslim captors for several years. Both of them know Islamic apartheid firsthand, and have been its victims. The Leftists at the City Paper therefore could do nothing but omit them from their story attacking the Conference, for to include them would in itself have been to reveal the reality of what they’re denying: Islamic apartheid.
The City Paper’s story focuses on Pamela Geller, retailing hard-Left talking points against her consisting entirely of distortions, misrepresentations, and outright falsehoods about things she has said and positions she has taken. Its objection to the Conference appears to be that Geller, and apparently therefore also the Conference as a whole, is “anti-Muslim.”
The irony is thick: organizing the protests are Occupy Temple, the International Socialist Organization, Students for Justice in Palestine, the Party for Socialism and Liberation, and other hard-Left community and student organizations, none of which have ever raised the slightest objection to Temple’s Israeli Apartheid Week. Nor would any of them characterize the very idea of Israeli Apartheid Week as anti-Semitic, although anti-Semitism is rife at such events (and our event will not actually be “anti-Muslim” at all). The chief difference, however, between Israeli Apartheid Week and our Islamic Apartheid Conference is simply that there really is Islamic apartheid, but there is no Israeli apartheid.
In Israel, Arab citizens are represented in Knesset and enjoy full legal equality. The very idea of “Israeli Apartheid” is an attempt to stigmatize, and ultimately destroy, Israel’s efforts to defend itself. Islamic Apartheid, however, is a very different matter. Is it “anti-Muslim” to point out that Islamic law mandates institutionalized discrimination against women? Muslim women are the first victims of Islamic law’s denial of basic rights for women; is it “anti-Muslim” to speak out for them and say that as human beings they deserve better?
Women are greatly burdened in many Muslim countries. Across the Islamic world, they endure restrictions on their movements, their marital options, their professional opportunities, and more. In Kuwait and elsewhere, women cannot vote or hold office. According to Amnesty International, in Saudi Arabia “women…who walk unaccompanied, or are in the company of a man who is neither their husband nor a close relative, are at risk of arrest on suspicion of prostitution or other ‘moral’ offences.”
The oppression of women in Muslim lands is not an accident. The proposition that, as the Qur’an says, “men have a status above women” (2:228) is all-pervasive in the Islamic world. Aisha, the most beloved of the Muslim prophet Muhammad’s many wives, admonished women in no uncertain terms to submit: “O womenfolk, if you knew the rights that your husbands have over you, every one of you would wipe the dust from her husband’s feet with her face.”
The oppression of women sanctioned by the teachings of Islam, and often by its holy book, manifests itself in innumerable ways. Among its most notorious are female genital mutilation, which an Islamic legal manual approved by Cairo’s prestigious al-Azhar University states is required “for both men and women.” Then there is wife-beating, sanctioned by nothing less than the Qur’an itself, which tells men to “beat” women from whom they “fear disobedience” (4:34). The Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences has determined that over ninety percent of Pakistani wives have been struck, beaten, or abused sexually — for offenses on the order of cooking an unsatisfactory meal. Others were punished for failing to give birth to a male child. Dominating their women by violence is a prerogative Muslim men cling to tenaciously. In Spring 2005, when the East African nation of Chad tried to institute a new family law that would outlaw wife beating, Muslim clerics led resistance to the measure as un-Islamic.
There is much more, including the phenomenon of honor killing. It is no accident or coincidence that Muslims commit 91 percent of honor killings worldwide. A manual of Islamic law says that “retaliation is obligatory against anyone who kills a human being purely intentionally and without right.” However, “not subject to retaliation” is “a father or mother (or their fathers or mothers) for killing their offspring, or offspring’s offspring” (‘Umdat al-Salik o1.1-2). In other words, someone who kills his child incurs no legal penalty under Islamic law.The Palestinian Authority gives pardons or suspended sentences for honor murders. Iraqi women have asked for tougher sentences for Islamic honor murderers, who get off lightly now. Syria in 2009 scrapped a law limiting the length of sentences for honor killings, but “the new law says a man can still benefit from extenuating circumstances in crimes of passion or honour ‘provided he serves a prison term of no less than two years in the case of killing.’” And in 2003 the Jordanian Parliament voted down on Islamic grounds a provision designed to stiffen penalties for honor killings. Al-Jazeera reported that “Islamists and conservatives said the laws violated religious traditions and would destroy families and values.”
Nor are women the only victims of Islamic apartheid: gays suffer in Muslim countries as well. The Iranian government has put to death an estimated 4,000 homosexuals since 1980. According to Scott Long, director of the Human Rights Watch Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Rights Program, Iranians who are suspected of being gay commonly face torture. Hossein Alizadeh of the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission said Iran gays live with “constant fear of execution and persecution and also social stigma associated with homosexuality.”
This is true not only in Iran, but in all too many areas of the Islamic world. The Qur’an characterizes those who “practice your lusts on men in preference to women” as “transgressing beyond bounds” (7:81). A hadith pronounces “the curse of Allah” upon those who engage in homosexual activity. A contemporary Muslim writer, Shaykh Abdul-Azeez Al-Fawzaan, called homosexuality “one of the most sinful acts known to humankind” and said that it was “evidence of perverted instincts, total collapse of shame and honor, and extreme filthiness of character and soul.”
Legal views on punishment vary. Among the Sunni schools of Islamic jurisprudence (madhahib), the Hanafi school mandates a severe beating for the first offense, and the death penalty for a repeat offender. The Shafi’i school calls for 100 lashes for an unmarried homosexual, death by stoning for a married one. The Hanbali school requires stoning across the board. Muhammad, the prophet of Islam, directed his followers to “kill the one who sodomizes and the one who lets it be done to him” (‘Umdat al-Salik, p17.3).
In many areas these words are still heeded. The Islamic Penal Law Against Homosexuals in Iran calls for the death penalty for sodomy and one hundred lashes for lesbianism for the first three offenses, with death for the fourth offense. Homosexuality is a capital offense not only in Iran, but also in Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Yemen and Mauritania. In Malaysia, it can draw a twenty-year prison sentence, and is illegal also in Afghanistan, Algeria, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Bosnia, Egypt, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Malaysia, Morocco, Oman, Pakistan, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Tunisia, Turkmenistan, the United Arab Emirates, and Uzbekistan, among others.
In light of all this and much more, it is ironic in the extreme that Leftist groups that profess a concern for “justice” would be trying to impede our Islamic Apartheid Conference. In doing so, they are running interference for a radically oppressive and intolerant ideology – as has been the Left’s modus operandi for decades.Robert Spencer is a scholar of Islamic history, theology, and law and the director of Jihad Watch. He is the author of ten books, eleven monographs, and hundreds of articles about jihad and Islamic terrorism, including the New York Times Bestsellers The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam (and the Crusades) and The Truth About Muhammad. His latest book is The Complete Infidel’s Guide to the Koran (Regnery), and he is coauthor (with Pamela Geller) of The Post-American Presidency: The Obama Administration’s War on America (Simon and Schuster).
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