One of those distinctive memories that I have is from a session of those “we wash your brain” classes that we had back at high school, which were called “Islamic thought”. Of course, as all these types of classes tend to be, this class was of as outmost stupidity as you can imagine. Most of the times we were bored out of our minds, but this particular session was not like that for me, since it was about men and women rights.
In these recent years, it seems that Islamist textbook writers and also teachers have become more and more aware of the unpopularity of direct sexist claims among people. It is actually amusing to watch an Islamist teacher sweat and try to give a mild version of a sexist statement or try to hide it behind bad reasoning.
That day was no different: Our teacher, who was our high school principle as well, was talking about women rights. He was not a full time bad ass fundamentalist, just occasionally; and he was sweating to make an argument in defence of Sharia law about women not having particular rights. Of course, as you may have guessed, in Islam women do not possess many rights, and one of them is they do not have the right to be judges based on Sharia law; and that is what we were talking about.*
“Women are by nature emotional.” Our principle declared loudly to the class “and we know that emotional people cannot make good decisions. Therefore it is absolutely justified to say women should not be judges.”
At that point I knew that this was wrong, but of course I was 16 and didn’t know “why”. I actually did try to say something in defence of women by stating that even they have specific rights in Islam (I don’t think so now), but obviously that was completely off topic. We now can see what is wrong with that stupid argument: Surely no one can state that all women are always emotional. Well, some of them are and some are not. Besides, men are emotional too; I personally have seen many women less emotional than me! But we all probably have: Benazir Bhutto, Margaret Thatcher, Hillary Clinton, Indira Gandhi etc. These were (and are) confident and strong women that shaped the history in their own way. I don’t think that an Argentinean would have agreed with our teacher-principle about Thatcher being “emotional”!
You can see that it doesn’t take much to be a sexist in the world of Islamic ideas. You just have to first believe in Islamic law, and then you can try to deceive yourself and others by vague or incoherent arguments.
In my mind, there is no doubt that the Islamic law (or Sharia) is Fascistic, and the reason is quite simple: It is based on discrimination. In Quran you can find phrases like (Sura An-Nisa: 34):
“Men have authority over women because Allah has made some of them to excel others and because they spend out of their property (for the support of women). Therefore, the good women are obedient, guarding the unseen as Allah has guarded. And (as to) those (women) on whose part you fear desertion, admonish them, and avoid them in beds and beat them; then if they obey you, do not seek a way against them; verily Allah is Ever-High, Ever-Great.“
As one starts reading the passage, one immediately realizes there is a huge distinction between the way Islam talks about men and women. “Men have authority over women” basically sums it all up: Women are considered men’s properties, not conscious beings who have their own will and understand as much (maybe even more!). And this is all because Allah has “made” some of them like this. Like what you ask? Of course men are stronger and work outside to earn money and “properties”, and women stay at home and do some “housework”. So men are spending their property on women, and that gives them the right to “rule” over them.
And if that doesn’t cut it, the next lines does: If you are a Muslim and you “fear” that your wife may desert you, and she wouldn’t back off if you asked her “nicely”, you can beat her. And they call this “guarding your family”!
Well, if you think that’s bad, you should read this Hadith from Mohammed:
A woman came to the Messenger of Allah and said: O Messenger of Allah, what is the right of the husband upon the wife? So he said to her: That she obey him and not disobey him, and that she not give any charity from his house except by his permission, and that she not fast voluntarily (i.e. not an obligatory fast) except with his permission, and that she not prevent him from herself even if she is upon the back of a camel saddle (qatab), and that she not leave his house except with his permission, for if she leaves without his permission the angels of the sky and the angels of the earth curse her, and the angels of wrath, and the angels of mercy, until she returns to his house. So she said: O Messenger of Allah, who of mankind has the greatest right upon the man? He said: His parents. She said: So who of mankind has the greatest right upon the woman? He said: Her husband. She said: So is there for me a right upon him like what he has upon me? He said: No and not (even) one for every hundred. So she said: By the one who has sent you by truth as a prophet, no man will ever own my neck.
What came above can only have one name: “sexist slavery”. Women are effectively reduced to “sex slaves” of their husbands, and cannot refuse to have sex with them even if it is on the back of a camel! Obviously they also do not possess the same rights as their husbands, not even one percent!
There you have it: A bronze age book, combined with bronze age mind-set. Whatever it creates cannot be good, as it stops the progress of humankind towards a better moral and social existence. The sooner the people toss it aside, the better
* This does not mean that we do not have women in a judge’s chair, since Sharia law is not always done as Mullahs want.