Women strike back: some good news about Islam at last

September 20, 2012 • 4:11 am

I’m not an advocate of violence to settle disputes (I was a certified conscientious objector as a youth), but the behavior of Muslim extremists—nay, Islam in general—against women has been so vile that it’s hard not to suppress a frisson of pleasure when the tables are turned.  Here’s a new report from CNN. The title is clever, too.

Putting the ‘jab’ in ‘hijab’: Girls beat up Iran cleric when he tells them to cover up

Tehran, Iran (CNN) — They may be a far cry from their Western counterparts fighting for the acceptance to breast feed — or go topless — in public, but two girls clobbered a cleric recently in a small town in Iran, when he admonished one of them to cover herself more completely.

The cleric said he asked “politely,” but the girl’s angry reaction and some pugilistic double-teaming with her friend landed the holy man in the hospital, according to an account in the semi-official Mehr News Agency.

Hojatoleslam Ali Beheshti says he encountered the girls on his way to the mosque in the village of Shahmirzad for noon prayers in late August.

He told one of the girls to cover up, the report said.

“She responded by telling me to cover my eyes, which was very insulting to me,” Beheshti said. So he asked her a second time to cover up and also to put a lid on what he felt was verbal abuse.

She hit the man of the cloth and he hit the ground.

“I don’t remember what happened after that,” he said. “I just felt her kicks and heard her insults.”

I love this bit: “She responded by telling me to cover my eyes, which was very insulting to me”.

h/t: Sigmund

70 thoughts on “Women strike back: some good news about Islam at last

  1. I love this bit: ”She responded by telling me to cover my eyes, which was very insulting to me”.

    Yes, if that’s very insulting, then it’s no surprise that other statements/actions can get one killed.

    As if, “How dare you hit me in the fist with your nose.”

    1. Will the cleric and other patriarchs leave it at that? Shall we expect to hear of the girls being stoned to death for attacking and “insulting” this holy man?

  2. I love this bit: ”She responded by telling me to cover my eyes, which was very insulting to me”.

    Funny, until you consider the unfortunately expected continuation of that sentence: “… and so she deserves to die.”

    I hope both girls are (and remain) safe.

    1. The rudeness is probably that a sub-human did not shut up in awe in front of a holy male that was so kindly making her education.

      Desnes Diev

  3. Small village-easily identified. I hope they will be okay. If they are okay, then all I can say is: “You go girl”.

  4. Anal sex Is forbidden in Sunni Islam but its ok in Shia Islam . So the Irani girls aren’t suffering from oppression only ! Men might feel offended if she doesn’t consent to being heavily drilled–probably without KY–by her maintainer ! \../ but of course their apologetics will euphemistically say :” anal sex is ok only if she consent ” yeah right

    1. I confess to some difficulty in relating your comment to the original post, but as further amplification can only amplify its repulsion, please do not trouble yourself to explain further.

      1. If u think its not related , I understand cos u’ll never see articles addressing Irani sodomy or the Shia’s sodomy and how they force their wives to get “heavily drilled” . If u feel its repulsive then I think u should read Professor Steven Pinker’s transcript of speech On Censorship, and the ‘Psychology of Taboo’ .

  5. From the CNN report – “Beheshti, who emerged from the infirmary three days later, said he did not file a complaint against the girls.”

    So let’s hope they are still safe.

    And let’s hope even more that it is the start of more women standing up against this evil and violent medieval patriarchy.

    1. This is not easy for me to write well, and I regret even trying, but if this physically fighting back can make it harder to stone women, in the sense, that they would die fighting back, stoning may become less desirable to do.

    2. Is this cleric telling the truth? Doesn’t want to file a complaint? That sounds odd. I wonder if there is more to this story that the cleric would rather not be known to others. I’d love to hear this story from the women’s perspective, except that I would rather they not be exposed to any more danger than they already are.

  6. Excellent.

    But, Jerry… The link at “according to an account” doesn’t work for those of us out here in the non UC world!

  7. Evidently Hit-Girl is alive and well and living in Iran!

    Shahmirzad has a population of some 7,000 (which can rise to 40,000 in the summer) and is of diverse ethnic background, so these “girls” may not be of the same faith as the cleric, but that doesn’t excuse their physical abuse of him, unless there was (or had been) something else going on here.

    1. The religious oppression it doesn’t excuse it. But it does explain it. As JAC points out, there’s massive irony in a man thinking its his right to order a young woman to put a scarf over her head, but then claim he was insulted when she tells him to close his eyes. The “I socially outrank you” message is right there on the surface.

  8. Those young women are my new heroes but I hope nothing bad happens to them.

    @#6- what are you talking about? what’s this got to with sex?

      1. Ah no that would cross the line. Children and women, ok. But not men. The former would be revenge of the victims, the latter would just make the clergy the victims.

        1. Men aren’t victims too? Gay guys? Non-believers?

          (I’m not really in favor of beating people up. But I can’t get too upset about this the violence in this particular story.)

  9. ”She responded by telling me to cover my eyes, which was very insulting to me”.

    The common thread that seems to run through so much of what is happening is that it is someone else who is responsible for what I do. A woman should cover up so that I don’t have improper thoughts. When I burn down an embassy, it’s the fault of the infidels who made that terrible movie.

    This is crazy. I think people in the Muslim world (and everywhere) needs to take responsibility for their own actions.

  10. I do not approve of violent retaliation.

    But perhaps if they both flashed him so that his impure thoughts would condemn him to hell, that would be justice.

    1. Ahh, but that little bit of hair or shoulder that he saw was already forcing him to have impure thoughts. Fortunately, I’m sure he has already determined that he could not be faulted, no matter what he could have seen.

      Besides, there is no Hell, so there’s no justice to be found there.

      What is it with these men whinging that they need to be protected from their own uncontrollable lust?


      There’s a t-shirt that goes with it.

    1. How do you propose they make a start? Wielding their political clout? Street protests? A sex strike?

      The Suffragettes in England, which I am a little familiar with, received a lot of abuse during their efforts. Western media reports lead me to suppose it would be far worse for Iranian women if they attempt the same.

  11. I approve of the violent retaliation. I know how these Mullahs can be giant perverts and big assholes and how their definition of ‘polite’ language is wickedly different from the common-sense definition.

    “She responded by telling me to cover my eyes, which was very insulting to me,” Beheshti said. So he asked her a second time to cover up and also to put a lid on what he felt was verbal abuse.

    So I’m guessing that he actually replied with an insult that probably would translate to “Shut your fucking mouth” in the most charitable case or to “Shut up you filthy cunt” in the most likely case.

  12. I dunno…I get the schadenfreude, but I can’t endorse violence as a response to speech, and I’ve got real problems with kicking a man when he’s down.

    Even if he “deserves” it.

    I can understand the desire to “get back” like this. But it’s not civilized, and all it does is close a loop that instead needs to be broken.

    Now, if the man had pulled a knife, or was inciting his thugs to do unto the women but they beat them to the punch, or something like that, this would be a different story. But, as written? As viscerally satisfying as it may be, it’s still worng.


    1. Where imaginary crimes of blasphemy and mixed dancing is punishable by death, the admonishment by the cleric i would think constitutes incitement enough, more threatening than pulling out a knife. But perhaps public sentiment is turning, or maybe the cleric is not high-ranking enough. And let’s not forget, this is Iran, which has a more secular society. If this had happened in Aghanistan, the women would probably be dead now.

    2. The implied threat of violence against women who do not comply or submit is very long-standing, and nowhere is this more true than in countries where everything about feminine identity is state-controlled.

      It is way past time for subjugated women to beat the crap out of their oppressors. Just sayin’.

      1. It’s easy to imagine information left out of the story that would justify the violence. For example, it could be that this was an attempted sexual assault on the part of the cleric, with his righteous indignation at their indecency his moral cover for the assault. He might even have a well-deserved reputation for being a grab-ass or even a rapist. If that’s the more accurate picture, then what the women did is absolutely justified.

        But none of that is in the story.

        If I were judging this case and the CNN report was all I had to go on…well, of course, I wouldn’t do anything until I could get the results of a proper investigation, legal counsel, testimony, and everything else needed for justice to be served. But let’s assume that the CNN report is, indeed a valid summary of the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth of the facts in this case.

        If that was, indeed, the case, I’d have no choice but to give the cleric a stern lecture on why he should stop being an asshole douchebag…but I’m afraid that the women would go to prison for violent assault and be required to accept anger management counseling as a condition of parole.

        It is way past time for subjugated women to beat the crap out of their oppressors.

        In certain isolated incidents, such as the hypothetical grab-ass, sometimes, perhaps. But the non-violence of the Civil Rights Movement is the way to solve social injustice.

        Let’s not forget that, just as uppity women in the Islamic world are stoned to death today, uppity Blacks in the South were hanged. Acid is thrown in the faces of Islamic girls in school today; bombs were tossed at Black girls in church in the South. Women in Islam have been subjugated for centuries; Blacks in the South had been enslaved for centuries.

        The situations are very comparable. A solution, if there is to be one, will also be quite similar.



        1. The other side of the story, that of the girls’ perspective, you will never hear. A woman’s testimony still counts for much less than that of a man in Iran, and the fact that he was a “holy” man probably makes those women even less believable.

          And you can bet that those girls have good incentive to keep their names and faces as far from this story as possible, no matter what the circumstances were.

        2. I firmly disagree. The concept that some actions that would otherwise be considered unacceptable, but can in certain contexts be deemed justified is, to my mind, a valid, a just concept. If this incident had taken place in Sweden and involved people that could reasonably be expected to be enculturated to that society, then absolutely I would agree with you. But in the event that actually took place, well reportedly took place, things are quite different. A more accurate cultural context would be the US south during the first half of the 19th century, the woman are slaves and the cleric is, well, still a cleric.

          In short, there is a point where the level of provocation and or threat imposed on a person is severe enough that it is unreasonable, and unjust, to punish them for responding with violence. And I think that the culture that these woman live in imposes such severe provocation and threat to them as a matter of course that it is unreasonable for us to censure them for responding with violence.

          1. …except this is Iran, not Afghanistan. Rather than Mississippi before Emancipation, think of Virginia in the 50s. Big problems, yes, undoubtedly, but not so bad that you couldn’t squint and convince yourself that it’s really not all that bad, considered.

            Again, I’m not discounting the possibility that the women’s actions were justified. It would not at all surprise me that, as others have suggested, the full story ain’t never gonna be told, but that said story would fully justify the use of force.

            But that’s speculation, reasonable as it may be, that isn’t supported by the news report.

            It could also be that the whole thing went down just as the report says it did. That’s also a pretty reasonable hypothesis.


          2. It could be that the ladies had finally had one too many holy men giving them chin music. They nearly had to have done it in some isolated part of town, behind a building, etc., out of view of other righteous XY’s.

            (For some reason I’m contemplating the thoughts of the woman in the hospital bed who had to bear up under a visit and lecture from Bishop Mitt Romney.)

  13. “She responded by telling me to cover my eyes, which was very insulting to me.”

    The sound of women laughing, all over the world. It would be a very good sound.

  14. Kinda reminds of the scene in “Airplane!” where Peter Graves beats up the Hare Krishnas and various other groups soliciting him.

  15. Iranian atheist here. I think this story is awesome the only thing that annoyed me was reading the same article on a conservative American website. All the comments were saying shit like “Iranian men are savages!” and other things like that. I don’t think people on those sites understand the difference between some old Cleric fundamentalist and the average Iranian. The average Iranian isn’t even that religious.

        1. Perhaps so if the USCIA can resist inserting itself into Iranian affairs as it did in 1953?

          It will help too if the Iranian powers that be will take a holiday from pursuing a nuclear weapon, which of course is affected by (their perception of) U.S. intentions.

      1. Guessing from your tone as well and your quoting “average Iranians” that you probably hate Iranians and have a generalized view on Iranians (not offended at all). I don’t blame you, your idea of Iran is probably … Saudi Arabia, correct? “Backwards monsters! Nuke them! I hate Iranians”… lol trust me I hear it all the time on the Internet.

        Here’s something humanizing for you, enjoy! Peace and remember to always look for similarities between people instead of ways to hate them.

        1. Hassan, that music video was delicious!

          In fact, 1:55-1:59 was dooghalicious!

          My friend Jamshied Sharifi produced Mamak Khadem’s first solo CD Jostojoo, where the bass player was Skúli Sverrison (Iceland), the reed player was Ole Mathisen (Norway), and Ben Wittman was a percussionist (Brooklyn, NY). I saw them play in Washington, DC at the Smithsonian’s Meyer Auditorium (March 7, 2009), and her Iranian audience was a unique pleasure — young, international, intellectual, warm, and sexy!

      2. Average Iranians have come out. In the late 1970’s when the Muslims took over, the average Iranians were suppressed/oppressed into submission. The original Persian/Iranian basically live in fear of their rulers. Islam is poison.

        1. All religion is poison. You cannot single out Islam, when it is a plagiarism of Judaism, as is Christianity. All forms of Abrahamic monotheism is absolutely toxic.

  16. The sad thing is that these women will probably be in a lot of trouble for not putting up with such nonsense. It’s so medieval.

  17. There’s nothing more despicable than an imam, unless it’s a pedophile priest or sucking-the-blood-off-a-penis rabbi. The only highly probable unfortunate thing about this is that the girls will probably now be murdered. They should have killed him so that he couldn’t identify them. Sorry, if that sounds reprehensible, but Islam is reprehensible. And, oh, if someone wants to call me a religious bigot, that’s fine. However, you’re mistaken. I’m not religious at all.

  18. Way to go! This is what I always say- if you are concerned about women showing themselves, blind yourself and your like minded brethren.

    1. Indeed, that’s exactly the solution to the problem that Jesus commanded — in the Sermon on the Mount, no less!

      Matthew 5:27 Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery:

      28 But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.

      29 And if thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell.

      30 And if thy right hand offend thee, cut it off, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell.

      …one is left to assume, of course, that either all Christian men who still have both eyes and hands have yet to go through puberty, are gay, or are de-facto adulterers who will burn in Hell forever (even if they did subsequently marry the victims of their adultery).



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