Bend backwards

Salon, so often the nice and political critical news site, has something with sex, with women and with defending orthodox Islam against women that simply want to be free of oppression, discrimination and violence. It shows in op-eds, it shows in book reviews. Here's one, a review of Deborah Scroggins’ "engrossing" new book, “Wanted Women: Faith, Lies, and the War on Terror: The Lives of Ayaan Hirsi Ali and Aafia Siddiqui”.

It's "engrossing, because the terrorist is the victim, and its victim the terrorist. Morally bankrupt, the reviewer copies and pastes fables as facts, to deal with Hirsi Ali and her repulsive ideas about the place of a woman, the life of a human, and more banal concept.

There was no "wave of mosque and church burnings" after Theo van Gogh was killed. Mohammed Bouyeri wasn't found to be "emotionally disturbed". Dutch politics didn't return to its sedate and reasonable tenor. On the contrary.

It's clear from those observations: if there's someone self-serving, it must be Scroggins. Her paternalistic fairy tale view about orthodox Islam as nothing but the clear victim of Western oppression has lead her and others to mind-boggling views defending the most rabid misogyny in existence.

Living in a Dutch city with a large Muslim community, less than fifteen years ago, a hijab was for people here close to a touristic event, occasionally worn by elderly Moroccan or a head scarf worn by a few older Turkish women; a man with a djellaba was most certainly a prankster on its way to a Mardi Grass festival.

Today a young muslim girl age 14 or up not wearing a hijab is an exception, plenty of young men wearing beards and djellabas. More and more Muslims turn to orthodoxy and demand that society caters to their whims and world view; men refuse to interact with women in general and especially with native Dutch women.

The society that feeds them and cares for them is generally described as depraved and inferior. The most basic forms of common courtesy and social interaction are wilfully ignored. Moderate muslims are forced to choose - not by Hirsi Ali or Dutch society, but by the intolerant mullahs of their own faith.
Something has changed, and it has *preceded* a reaction as rabid as the radicalization itself, festering in Dutch society with no solution in sight.

Deep down Scroggins knows better: Orthodox-Islamic radicalism is no cause, but effect. Muslims are victims, neither grown ups nor assertive. If they are violent, they are mentally disturbed.
The cause is people like Hirsi Ali, who - out of the blue, driven by lies and more damned lies - attack these defenseless victims of Western colonialism and their alleged moral superiority.
I respect and understand that people make their own decision what to believe and how to express it - be it influence by others or by their own deep convictions.
Muslim people are no exception to that rule. They are allowed to love, hate, think and believe as they wish - like anyone on this world.

As long as we all obey the law we are free to live our lives - how unwanted by others or not.
What baffles the mind however is the way women like Scroggins and her ilk passively or actively defend practices as if it were the summit of women's lib.
The same people raving against "white middle aged men" unwilling to share power with them, fighting politicians challenging pro-choice or mocking them when they criticize women working instead of "caring for their families at home" glorify the same principles as liberation and emancipation when the word "Islamic" is added as an adjective.

Scroggings (and to be honest, a staggering lot of female staff writers at Salon) cater Islamic misogyny and religious zealotry instead of fighting against barbaric notions about the rights and the place of women in our society. They are as responsible for the extremely polarized debate as the uneducated mass believing orthodox Islam is a threat to our society.

Orthodox Islam is no more threat to civilized and democratic society than any other anti-democratic religion movement. 14 centuries of uneasy coexistence has proven so.
The real threat are the well educated, democratic people bending over to let their misplaced feelings of Western guilt devolve into a paternalistic vision, slowly selling out values of equality, freedom, justice and dignity to cater the the misogynists and their order of things.

Their message: woman, born in an orthodox religious society? Tough luck. That's culture, baby.
A slap in the face for tens of millions of women in this world struggling for the most basic rights they have to miss.