Sarah Haider on World Hijab Day

February 2, 2022 • 3:19 pm

Yesterday was World Hijab Day, a day to celebrate a symbol of misogyny and oppression. In its honor(?) we have a thoughtful 15-minute video by Sarah Haider, Executive Director of the Ex-Muslims of North America, about the hijab. Needless to say, she’s almost entirely critical of reasons for wearing the headscarf.

My own view about it has been given many times (e.g., here): to see whether it’s a “choice” or a “mandate,” remove all social, religious. and political pressures to wear it, and see how many women still wear the headscarf.

That’s not an impossible experiment because it’s pretty much what Iran and Afghanistan were like in the 1970s. And most women let their hair fly free.  Sure enough, when the theocracy began in Iran in 1979, a mandatory hijab law was enacted, and women protested by the thousands. It was of no use. They were forced to wear it, and violators were beaten or even jailed for long periods.

Further, if it’s a “choice”, why would you need “morality police” in Iran and Afghanistan to beat women whose hijab doesn’t fully cover there hair? What kind of monstrous culture dictates the beating of women who, exposing a wisp of hair, are supposed to excite the libido of men?

To tell the truth, I think that women who say that their wearing the hijab is a “choice”, a sign of modesty, are largely dissimulating. Many are wearing it to make it obvious that they are in the class of the victimized, a point articulated clearly in Haider’s video by the odious Linda Sarsour, who says “Before wearing a hijab, I was just an ordinary white girl from New York City” (12:57). Now she’s a public victim as a Person of Color. Sarah doesn’t make this point, because she’s too nice to, but listen again to Sarsour.

Many have been forced to wear the veil since they were little girls, and it’s now a habit—no more of a choice than Amish wearing suspenders and black clothes. A sure sign that it’s bogus is shown by those who wear hijabs and then tons of makeup and other fancy garments. How is that supposed to be modest?

It is a sad irony that Western women, including feminists seem to valorize the hijab, for they are valorizing oppression. For that’s where the garment came from: the misogynistic idea that women must cover their hair (and bodies) to avoid exciting the uncontrollable lusts of men. Why shouldn’t the men control their own damn lusts? Again it’s an instance of MacPherson’s Law: when two “progressive” tenets collide—in this case feminism versus Muslim dictates (the culture of the Oppressed)—the women always lose.

My favorite take on the hijab comes from Alishba Zarmeen:

And now the estimable Sarah Haider, who makes a number of good points, many of them related to Zarmeen’s remark above. BTW, I just discovered that Haider has just started a Substack site, “Hold that Thought” that will be a repository of her essays and thoughts.

Scientific American (and math) go full woke

August 29, 2021 • 12:15 pm

As we all know, Scientific American is changing from a popular-science magazine into a social-justice-in-science magazine, having hardly anything the science-hungry reader wants to see any more. I urge you to peruse its website and look for the kind of article that would have inspired me when I was younger: articles about pure science.  Now the rag is all about inequities and human diseases.

In the past couple of months, there have been some dire op-eds, and here’s another one—not as bad as some others, but (especially for a science magazine) riddled with unexamined assumptions. Click on the screenshot to read it. Apparently the “racial reckoning” that began last year has now crept into mathematics.

After reading it, I have two questions: Is mathematics structurally racist? And why has Scientific American changed its mission from publishing decent science pieces to flawed bits of ideology?

The article, of course, claims that mathematics is a hotbed of racism and misogyny, which explains why there are so few women and blacks in academic mathematics.

The article begins with stories of thee women mathematicians, all of whom report that they felt discriminated against or at least looked down upon. All of them have academic jobs, two as professors and one as a postdoc. I don’t doubt their stories, but what we have are three anecdotes. At face value, they show that there is some racism or sexism in academic math, but these are cherry-picked anecdotes that demonstrate little except that, like all fields, math is not entirely free of bigotry. I also procured two anecdotes with no effort. First, I asked one of my female math-y friends, Professor Anna Krylov,  a theoretical and computational quantum chemist at USC, who deals extensively with mathematicians, if that had been her experience, and she said what’s indented below. (I quote her with permission; we’ve met Anna before.)

 I was often a single women in a room — but so what? It did not turn me away from the subject I was passionate about.  I experienced some forms of discrimination throughout my career and can tell stories… But — as McWhorter often says — “there was then and there is now”! These anecdotes [from Sci. Am.] are blown out of proportion and completely misrepresent the current climate.

She also worried that these narratives, which don’t resemble her own, cultivate a victim mentality in women. (Anna is no anti-feminist, either: she helped initiate a protest against an all-male speaker agenda at a chemistry conference.)

Anna also mentioned another female math professor in the U.S. who agrees with her own experience. So we have two anecdotes on one side, and three on the other. (I have to add that, as I’ve said before, I myself felt inferior and suffered from “imposter syndrome” for several years in graduate school, constantly thinking about dropping out. But I finally realized that I could find my own niche.)

Author Crowell also gives two examples of undeniable racial discrimination against black mathematicians, but those took place in the early 20th century and in the Fifties, and it’s undeniable that at that time there was academic racism. But, as Anna said, “there was then and there is now”. If we’re to accept that mathematics is now structurally racist and misogynist, with an endemic culture of bigotry that leads to inequities, we need to do better than that.

So beyond the academic data, the article adds this:

Racism, sexism and other forms of systematic oppression are not unique to mathematics, and they certainly are not new, yet many in the field still deny their existence. “One of the biggest challenges is how hard it can be to start a conversation” about the problem, Sawyer says, “because mathematicians are so convinced that math is the purest of all of the sciences.” Yet statistics on the mathematics profession are difficult to ignore. In 2019 a New York Times profile of Edray Herber Goins, a Black mathematics professor at Pomona College, reported that “fewer than 1 percent of doctorates in math are awarded to African-Americans.” A 2020 NSF survey revealed that out of a total of 2,012 doctorates awarded in mathematics and statistics in the U.S. in 2019, only 585 (29.1 percent) were awarded to women. That percentage is slightly lower than in 2010, when 29.4 percent of doctorates in those areas (467 out of 1,590) were awarded to women. (Because these numbers are grouped based on sex rather than gender, that survey did not report how many of those individuals identify as a gender other than male or female.)

This is the Kendi-an idea that inequities in achievement are prima facie evidence of bias. But if you think about it for both women and African-Americans, that need not be true. This is a true case of begging the question: assuming that there is structural racism and misogyny in math and thus the lower representation is simply its result.

The problem with this, as we’ve discussed before, is that there are reasons for these inequities beyond structural racism, so you can’t just assume its existence. (As I said, nobody with any sense would deny that there are racist or sexist mathematicians; the claim is that the field is permeated with bigotry._

Regarding women, we’ve learned that the sexes differ in interests and preferences, with men being “thing people” and women being “people people” (these are of course average differences, not diagnostic traits!). As Lee Jussim points out in a Psychology Today op-ed, on the advanced high school level, men and women do about the same in math, but women do better than men in demonstrating verbal and reading skills.  In other words, women are better than men at everything, but many choose areas that are more word-heavy than math-heavy. That itself, combined with different preferences, causes inequities. As Jussim writes,

This same issue of differing interests was approached in a different way by Wang, Eccles, and Kenny (2013). Disclosure: Eccles was my dissertation advisor and longterm collaborator; I am pretty sure she identifies as a feminist, has long been committed to combating barriers to women, and is one of the most objective, balanced social scientists I have ever had the pleasure to know.

In a national study of over 1,000 high school students, they found that:

1. 70 percent more girls than boys had strong math and verbal skills;

2. Boys were more than twice as likely as girls to have strong math skills but not strong verbal skills;

3. People (regardless of whether they were male or female) who had only strong math skills as students were more likely to be working in STEM fields at age 33 than were other students;

4. People (regardless of whether they were male or female) with strong math and verbal skills as students were less likely to be working in STEM fields at age 33 than were those with only strong math skills.

Thus inequities in academic math may be a matter of differential preferences or other factors not reflecting bigotry. And this may be one explanation for why, although Sci. Am. notes that only 29.1% of doctorates in math were awarded to women in 2019, it looks from Jussim’s bar graph that about 35% of first time graduate enrollees in math and computer science are women. That bespeaks only a slightly higher attrition rate among women than men—something that needs to be addressed. But again, the go-to answer is not automatically “misogyny.”

As for African-Americans, yes, there’s way too few doctorates awarded in mathematics. To me this does bespeak racism, but racism in the past, not necessarily now. The situation is that due to inequality of opportunity, blacks almost certainly lack easy entry now into mathematics studies. This is a narrowing of the pipeline from the outset that needs to be rectified. But again, the figures do not show that the low output at the pipeline’s terminus is due to racism.

As to what happened to Scientific American, well, it’s gone the way of all the science journals. It is doing performative wokeness.

One more item: Have a look at MathSafe, an organization hired by the American Mathematical Society to police meetings like beagles sniffing out impurities. It’s as if we are no longer adults who can police our own behavior at meetings, and need to pay others to do it for us.

h/t: Anna

Progress in women’s equality

August 28, 2019 • 9:00 am

I have two letters that I’ve combined into one post, both showing the progress in women’s rights since I was an adolescent. I hope they are heartening in showing that sexist attitudes prevalent when I was a boy have substantially eroded. Neither of the letters below (stemming from Richard Byrd and J. Edgar Hoover) would be considered acceptable today.

The first comes from reader Jane Phillips, who sent me a screenshot of a letter she wrote to the New York Times about Admiral Richard Byrd. As Jane told me, she’d dreamed of being on an expedition in the Antarctic, envisioning guiding sleds drawn by hardy dogs. She sent me the note below as well as her 1990 letter to the New York Times, which includes the dismissive response of one of Byrd’s flunkeys to her dreams of being an Antarctic explorer.

Jane’s cover email:

When you go to Antarctica, I hope you will think of me because of this: a response to my letter to Admiral Byrd  volunteering to go on an Antarctica expedition:
Jane’s letter to the NYT:

A version of this article appears in print on , Section 7, Page 30 of the National edition with the headline: No Women Allowed.

How snotty can you get? Well, consider J. Edgar Hoover’s reply to my old friend Betsy, who, in 1963 at age 14, wrote to the FBI asking how she could become an FBI agent. J. Edgar Hoover, the Director, answered her personally.

As Betsy notes, “There were 5 enclosures; I can remember only 3: secretary, stenographer, and lab technician. The enclosures themselves have long ago vanished… too bad.”

Well I’m happy to report that although there isn’t 50/50 gender parity in the FBI, as of 7 years ago 20% of FBI agents were women (this could in part reflect a difference in preference rather than pure bias, though there are still reports of anti-woman bias in the agency). But at least the “glass ceiling” is gone—as is the odious Hoover.

I don’t know the proportion of researchers in the Antarctic that are women, but from reading about the stations there I gather the proportion is substantial. The “Women in Antarctica” article on Wikipedia says this:

There were approximately 180 women in Antarctica in the 1990-1991 season.  Women from several different countries were regularly members of over-wintering teams by 1992. The first all-women expedition reached the South Pole in 1993.  Diana Patterson, the first female station leader on Antarctica, saw a change happening in 1995. She felt that many of the sexist views of the past had given way so that women were judged not by the fact that they were women, but “by how well you did your job.”

Social scientist, Robin Burns, studied the social structures of Antarctica in the 1995-1996 season. She found that while many earlier women struggled, in 1995, there was more acceptance of women in Antarctica. Also by the mid 1990s, one of the station managers, Ann Peoples, felt that a tipping point had been reached and women on Antarctica became more normalized. There were still men in Antarctica who were not afraid to voice their opinion that women should not “be on the ice,” but many others enjoyed having “women as colleagues and friends.” Women around this time began to feel like it was “taken for granted now that women go to the Antarctic.”

Studies done in the early 2000s showed that women’s inclusion in Antarctic groups were beneficial overall. In the early 2000s, Robin Burns has found that female scientists who enjoyed their experience in Antarctica were ones who were able to finish their scientific work, to see through the project into completion.

I trust that equal opportunity will continue and increase, so that there are no more sex-based barriers to getting either of these jobs—or any job.  While residual bias may remain, at least women are no longer patronizingly told that, on the basis of sex alone, they aren’t qualified to be FBI agents or Antarctic explorers and researchers.

One more for the road: the impossibility of raising a non-sexist male

November 14, 2017 • 2:30 pm

From PuffHo, which is converging with Everyday Feminism (click on the screenshot to see)

I’ll just give quotes:

Of course, we all want to raise feminist sons. I wrote an article a few months ago detailing the ways I try to do just that. But my efforts are starting to seem like grains of sand against a steady wave-crash of misogyny and rape culture.

In my previous article, I wrote, “In my sweat-soaked, sit-straight-up-in-bed feminist nightmares, I can imagine a future in which my own spawn makes some woman feel as voiceless as the boys in my high school once did, a world in which he blithely argues against the existence of male privilege and shit-talks the latest all-female remake on Twitter.“  Lately, I can imagine it even more clearly.

and

Children never fully belong to their parents. I started losing mine to the world of men years ago. My voice is strong, but what chance does it have against the chorus of voices ready to drown me out every time he steps out the front door or turns on the TV? Being told to “raise a good man” is starting to feel like the devil is telling me to keep cool while steadily raising the thermostat in hell.

and the kicker (my emphasis):

Worse, when I look around at the adult men I know, I’m not sure exactly who I’m supposed to be raising him to emulate. Even the men whom I love and trust seem tied up in knots about this gender business ― one gets the impression they are constantly fighting against their instincts, carefully choosing their words while I carefully arrange my face to receive them so that we can all feel good about remaining friends. To be intimate with these men is to always be waiting, a little, for the microaggression that may or may not come.

The author seems to believe that there really aren’t any good men out there. But if she can find one—just one—that’s who she should use as a role model. I guess most of us don’t qualify.

She hasn’t considered that perhaps she’s looking for offense or, worse, wanting it so she can confirm her biases.

It’s not, of course, that I object to a woman trying to raise a non-sexist son. That’s a great thing to do. It’s that Ms. McCombs sees all men as sexists, and so has no good goal for her childrearing. Chalk one up for #YesAllMen.  The attitude that all men are misogynists, with the “good ones” simply better at hiding it is, of course, sexism.

Trump jumps the shark on Twitter

June 29, 2017 • 2:00 pm

Yes, this is a tweeticle, but what else are we supposed to do when the President of the United States makes policy statements and also insults newspeople using Twitter? I’m starting to believe the man has a diagnosable case of narcissism.

He has no idea how a President should comport himself, and that’s most easily evinced by looking at Twitter. Can you imagine any other President, including George W. Bush, Nixon, or Reagan, going after people like this if they had had access to social media?

Here. according to CNN, is what our “President” had to say about the co-hosts of MSNBC’s “The Morning Show”. He resorts, like a schoolyard bully, to hurling insulting nicknames:

CNN reports:

The president’s deputy press secretary, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, defended the tweets by saying Trump was responding to the “outrageous attacks that take place” on “Morning Joe” and other shows.

Trump refuses to be “bullied,” Sanders said on Fox News. “This is a president who fights fire with fire.”

Has Sanders ever heard of “taking the high road”? CNN continues:

Trump’s tweets in the 8 a.m. hour on Thursday said that “Morning Joe” is “poorly rated” (it’s not) and that the hosts “speak badly of me” (that’s true). He called both hosts disparaging names.

Trump claimed that Scarborough and Brzezinski courted him for an interview at Mar-a-Lago around the New Year’s Eve holiday.

“She was bleeding badly from a face-lift. I said no!” the president wrote.

He actually said yes, according to accounts of their meeting. Trump, Scarborough and Brzezinski mingled with guests and had a private chat.

For the record, photos from Mar-a-Lago do not show any blood or bandages on Brzezinski’s face.

Stunned commenters on social media noted that Trump targeted both hosts with his barbed tweets, but only opined on the physical appearance of the woman involved.

Democratic commentator Maria Cardona, speaking on CNN, said it was part of a pattern of misogynistic behavior by Trump. “We should not normalize this,” she said, calling it “unacceptable and unpresidential.”

And Republicans aren’t having it, either. Those who have condemned Trump’s outrageous behavior include Republican lawmakers Lindsey Graham, Mike Coffman, Lynn Jenkins, Ben Sasse, and Adam Kinzinger (Democrats have piled on as well, but the Republican sentiments are telling).  Here are two of the GOP tweets:

https://twitter.com/RepLynnJenkins/status/880433829856542721

MSNBC’s response was simple: “”It’s a sad day for America when the president spends his time bullying, lying and spewing petty personal attacks instead of doing his job.”

And here’s the response from the head of public relations for NBC News and MSNBC:

“We’re still waiting for a march against honor killings”: Ayaan Hirsi Ali and Asra Nomani in NYT on religion and women’s rights

June 22, 2017 • 12:45 pm

Well cut off my legs and call me Shorty! (Is that ableist?) I was astounded to see that Ayaan Hirsi Ali and Asra Nomani, both feminist Muslim reformers, were given a whole op-ed in the New York Times to testify about women’s rights vs religion (click on screenshot to see it):

As I wrote five days ago, when Hirsi Ali and Nomani testified about terrorism (along with two men) before a mixed panel of Senators at the Senate’s Homeland Security Committee, the two women were allowed to speak, but the Democrats ignored them during questioning (see the four-hour hearing at the link at the beginning of this sentence). In fact, as Hirsi Ali and Nomani write in their op-ed, the one male and three Democratic Senators didn’t ask either of them a single question. Why? I explained that in my earlier post:

I don’t think the behavior of those Democrats has anything to do with deference to men; rather, they shied away from indicting religion as a cause of terrorism, and that’s precisely what Hirsi Ali and Nomani were trying to say.  The male witnesses, in contrast, avoided religion and dealt with other solutions to terrorism.  Democrats, it seems, studiously avoid mentioning religion or Islam, taking a cue from the Obama/Hillary Clinton playbook.

Hirsi Ali and Nomani agree in their NYT piece:

This wasn’t a case of benign neglect. At one point, Senator McCaskill said that she took issue with the theme of the hearing itself. “Anyone who twists or distorts religion to a place of evil is an exception to the rule,” she said. “We should not focus on religion,” she said, adding that she was “worried” that the hearing, organized by Senator Ron Johnson, a Republican from Wisconsin, would “underline that.” In the end, the only questions asked of us about Islamist ideologies came from Senator Johnson and his Republican colleague, Senator Steve Daines from Montana.

Just as we are invisible to the mullahs at the mosque, we were invisible to the Democratic women in the Senate.

How to explain this experience?

. . . . what happened that day was emblematic of a deeply troubling trend among progressives when it comes to confronting the brutal reality of Islamist extremism and what it means for women in many Muslim communities here at home and around the world. When it comes to the pay gap, abortion access and workplace discrimination, progressives have much to say. But we’re still waiting for a march against honor killings, child marriages, polygamy, sex slavery or female genital mutilation.

. . . . when we speak about Islamist oppression, we bring personal experience to the table in addition to our scholarly expertise. Yet the feminist mantra so popular when it comes to victims of sexual assault — believe women first — isn’t extended to us. Neither is the notion that the personal is political. Our political conclusions are dismissed as personal; our personal experiences dismissed as political.

That’s because in the rubric of identity politics, our status as women of color is canceled out by our ideas, which are labeled “conservative” — as if opposition to violent jihad, sex slavery, genital mutilation or child marriage were a matter of left or right. This not only silences us, it also puts beyond the pale of liberalism a basic concern for human rights and the individual rights of women abused in the name of Islam.

There is a real discomfort among progressives on the left with calling out Islamic extremism. Partly they fear offending members of a “minority” religion and being labeled racist, bigoted or Islamophobic. There is also the idea, which has tremendous strength on the left, that non-Western women don’t need “saving” — and that the suggestion that they do is patronizing at best. After all, the thinking goes, if women in America still earn less than men for equivalent work, who are we to criticize other cultures?

This is extreme moral relativism disguised as cultural sensitivity.

We all know that they’re speaking the truth. But it’s an inconvenient truth to many on the Left, even when voiced by two “women of color”. And they’re both doubly marked in the oppression scale—triply if you count that Nomani is a practicing Muslim and that Hirsi Ali was genitally mutilated in the name of Islam. They bear all the merit badges of people who should be heard. Instead, they’re demonized, with Hirsi Ali even characterized as an “anti-Muslim extremist” by the Southern Poverty Law Center. (They clearly haven’t read her latest book.)

There’s more to their piece, and it’s all good, but I don’t want to reproduce it in toto. Let me just reprise their main point: “The hard truth is that there are fundamental conflicts between universal human rights and the principle of Shariah, or Islamic law. . . ”

We all know that, too, and so does anyone with eyes to see and ears to hear. But universal human rights somehow vanish when religion is on the table. As the odious Morgan yelled, “Show some damn respect for people’s religious beliefs!”

It’s damn well time for Leftists to stop osculating a faith that’s not only scripturally odious and oppressive, but is practiced widely in that way.  Democrats, and the Left in general, need to absorb the simple lesson that Ali Rizvi pressed on Piers Morgan in the tw**t below:

h/t: Grania

What a world!: UN elects Saudi Arabia to its Commission on the Status of Women

April 23, 2017 • 1:00 pm

Here’s a case where the fox has been chosen to guard the henhouse. The website for the UN’s Commission on the Status of Women outlines its mission:

The Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) is the principal global intergovernmental body exclusively dedicated to the promotion of gender equality and the empowerment of women. A functional commission of the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), it was established by Council resolution 11(II) of 21 June 1946.

The CSW is instrumental in promoting women’s rights, documenting the reality of women’s lives throughout the world, and shaping global standards on gender equality and the empowerment of women.

One would think, then, that the member states of this organization would be those with a track record of promoting gender equality.

Wrong. According to several sources, including UN Watch (the link keeps disappearing!), the UN has just elected (wait for it) Saudi Arabia as a member of that commission. In fact, the vote, made by the UN’s Economic and Social Council was by secret ballot (why?), and 15 EU countries voted for the Saudi membership (see below):

Saudi Arabia is a country where women can’t drive, must appear fully covered in public, cannot go out unless accompanied by a male guardian, need permission from a guardian to travel, marry, or do business, and weren’t allowed to either vote or run for election until just two years ago. It’s a horrible place to be a woman if you have any aspirations toward equality.

Further, according to the World Economic Forum’s Gender Gap Rating, Saudi Arabia ranks 134 out of 145 countries assessed—right at the bottom. Here are the top nations:

. . . and the bottom (note the predominance of Muslim-majority countries):

Iceland, showing the indices used:

 

Saudi Arabia, whose low score is due largely to reduced “economic empowerment and opportunity” and “political empowerment”:

We don’t know who voted for Saudi, but, according to this tweet from a UN Watch official, lots of EU countries gave an “aye”:

And a response from a Saudi woman (clearly living elsewhere!):

Others have said this, and I agree: the United Nations has become a joke.

h/t: Lesley

Every sperm is sacred: satirical Texas anti-masturbation bill moves through legislature

April 10, 2017 • 1:00 pm

The “Men’s Right to Know” Act, a bill introduced in the Texas state legislature by Representative Jessica Farrar (a Democrat, naturally), has had its first reading in the Texas House. It’s a satirical bill that mocks the Texas legislature’s constant attempts to control the bodies of women. As The Independent reports,

Under section 173.010 of House Bill 4260, the Man’s Right to Know Act, Texas men would only be allowed to masturbate under supervision, inside approved health care and medical facilities.

Any “unregulated masturbatory emissions outside of a woman’s vagina, or created outside of a health or medical facility, will be charged a $100 civil penalty for each emission, and will be considered an act against an unborn child, and failing to preserve the sanctity of life.”

The bill, created by state representative Jessica Farrar of Houston, would also promote “fully abstinent sexual relations” and create a “Hospital Masturbatory Assistance Registry” to “provide fully-abstinent encouragement counselling, supervising physicians for masturbatory emissions, and storage for the semen.”

Allowing Texas men only “occasional” masturbatory emissions inside the approved facilities, the bill would insist that the resulting semen be “stored for the purposes of conception for a current or future wife.”

Although the bill stands ZERO chance of passing, or even getting to a vote, it’s a hilarious commentary on recent Texas legislation—the kind of ingroup humor one rarely sees in American politics except at the White House Correspondents’ Dinners. The article continues:

Her bill, Ms Farrar has claimed, “mirrors real Texas laws and health care restrictions faced by Texas women every legislative session.”

Emphasising the need for full male abstinence, it comes three months after Republican Tony Tinderhold proposed criminalising abortion in Texas, arguing it would make women “more personally responsible” about their sexual behaviour.

Ms Farrar’s bill also insists that any doctor providing a vasectomy or prescribing Viagra must first read a ‘Man’s Right to Know’ booklet with the patient.

This, Ms Farrar has said, is a response to current Texas law which obliges doctors to give women considering an abortion a “Women’s Right to Know” booklet.  Ms Farrar has criticised this as a “guilt mechanism” to get the woman to change her mind.

She has also criticised the Texas law requiring a woman to have a trans-vaginal ultrasound before she can have an abortion as an “invasive, medically unnecessary procedure [where] one of the state’s objectives is to guilt her into changing her mind.”

So her bill also insists: “An attending physician must administer a medically-unnecessary digital rectal exam and magnetic resonance imagining of the rectum before administering an elective vasectomy or colonoscopy procedure or prescribing Viagra.”

You can see the full bill here; I’ve taken a screenshot of the introducton (below):

 

Farrar: a Texas hero

h/t: Robert N.

 

Muslim teenager filmed dancing in Birmingham gets vilified and threatened; feminists refuse to condemn the threats, but Maajid Nawaz does

March 13, 2017 • 9:00 am

As we know, much of the Left (the “nonliberal” or “authoritarian” or “regressive” Left) has made concessions to illiberalism. When a religion whose members are mostly “people of color,” like, Islam, then it’s considered judicious to ignore the oppressive beliefs of that religion: homophobia, misogyny, censorship, demonization and calls for the murder of cartoonists, nonbelivers and apostates, corporal punishment, and so on. In other words, when pigmentation conflicts with oppression, this part of the Left favors pigmentation. The color of one’s skin takes precedence over the content of one’s character.

Here is a case in point.  A 17-year-old Muslim girl was filmed with a cellphone “twerking” (dancing in a provocative manner while wiggling the butt) in the streets of Birmingham. The film was put on YouTube; have a look (it may disappear soon):

Guess what happened?

Yep, you’re right. She was vilified. As News.com.au reports:

Footage of her dancing was later uploaded online, and attracted a barrage of hateful comments.

One wrote: “That’s so disrespectful is you are wearing hijab you are representing Islam respect dignity so how to act like a fool that is a big disrespect.”

Another said: “Truly disgusting.

“Some people don’t understand the meaning of the veil.”

One even said she “needs to be killed”.

The “hijab” comment shows what we all know: it’s not just an “empowering” article of clothing, but a symbol of oppression—something that, when you wear it, mandates that you must behave in a certain way.

The comments also included these:  “F*****g s**t someone give me her address I will kill her”. Another man seconded: “Stupid b****h needs to be killed”. It’s not clear how many of these comments came from Britain versus Muslim-majority countries, but given that many were in English, they certainly reflect the sentiments of some British Muslims.

Of course to avoid vilification or even murder, the twerking girl had to express contrition in public. From News.com.au:

She later gave an emotional interview to Muslim YouTube star Ali Dawah.

The teenager, who has not been named, told him during a phone interview: “To all the girls that wear hijab and wear abayah, I’m sorry for disrespecting it.

“I’ve learnt from my mistake.

“It’s gone viral and I’m just hurt, I just want everybody to leave it alone and keep everything away, I don’t want it to be how it was and I am not going to do anything like that again.

“I am sorry for disrespecting it and thank you to all of you that helped, it’s up to Allah to judge, at the end of the day I will be judged for it, not you guys.”

She also says that she has “problems”, “didn’t think straight,” and was suffering from depression that began when she was 13.  No wonder she was depressed, growing up in a culture like that!

Dawah’s Video of Shame and Contrition is below; the girl’s groveling and apologies begin at 5:29, accompanied by her crying, and it’s ineffably sad. To his credit, Dawah rejects the vilification heaped on the girl, and says the video should be taken down, but he also heavily criticizes her behavior, calling it “really bad,” “inappropriate,” “sinful”, and even “the work of the devil.” He offers to put the girl in touch with “some good sisters in Birmingham” to help her. (Read: to make sure she henceforth stays in line.)

Dawah’s job here is to reinforce the standards of sharia law, and he and his co-broadcaster blame music as being partly responsible for the girl’s “grave sin”. As he says, “This is why music is harm. . . it’s the work of [inaudible, but probably the Muslim Satan].” But they express hope that the girl will shape up, get married and “wear niqab.” Niqab! (That’s a face covering, in case you’ve forgotten).

The two guys, for all their pretend compassion, are really trying to keep women in line and recommend appropriate rehabilitation. They are—and I say this without irony—instruments of the Muslim patriarchy. They’re young, but when they grow up they’ll enforce the same oppression that this woman experienced—and in Britain!

Maajid Nawaz on LBC radio (“Leading Britain’s Conversation”) didn’t pull any punches. He’s a Muslim, but abhors these threats and calls out feminists for not joining him (click on the screenshot to go to his 3½-minute video.)

Part of the transcript, which you can see here:

“What happened next [after the video was posted] is chilling. It will freeze the blood within your very body. Amid threats in YouTube comment threads, such as ‘effing, swear word, someone give me her address I will kill her’ and ‘stupid, swear word, needs to be killed’, the young girl was dragged onto a page by a pair of religious fundamentalists, who at first posted a picture in disgust at her dancing, and in a recorded audio, was forced into an online repentance.

“A public, tearful, apology, repentance and retraction, merely for dancing. Welcome to the United Kingdom in 2017. We may have just witnessed our first online religious fundamentalist inquisition.

“Initiated, conducted, and concluded, all online. And the worst part of this? Is it happened a couple of days before International Women’s Day, and you’d be forgiven for not having heard of it.

“Not a single global, nor national, feminist movement adopted this as a cause. Not a single mainstream, left wing nor liberal, media outlet reported on this.

“And I am wondering whether feminists are too busy picking first world fights while neglecting the minorities within minority communities. Like women within Muslim communities, who face a triple threat, who are discriminated from three different directions.

“One for being people of colour. Two, for being women within patriarchal communities that tell them they can’t work, or they can’t leave the home, or they have to submit to arranged marriages, or FGM, or any other form of oppression.

“And three, because they are Muslim, they’re also suspected by the outside world. The triple threat that women within Muslim communities face is heavy as a burden.

“And I think feminists are too busy picking first world fights while under their noses, within their own country, things like this are happening.”

Nawaz is of course correct; you won’t find mention of this incident in the New York Times, Huffington Post, Jezebel, or Everyday Feminism. No, those sites are devoted to glorifying the hijab, the very symbol of this kind of oppression (see here and here, for instance). You’ll find this news only on the conservative websites and British tabloids, like the Sun, the Daily Fail, Breitbart and Heat Street. Such is the unholy agreement between true liberals and bigoted conservatives. But even conservatives can be right about things, even if for the wrong reasons.

Some people say, “There’s no such thing as the Regressive Left. It’s a fiction—a strawman.” It isn’t.  The Regressive Left are those who refuse to condemn the oppression of women when it’s done by Muslims. That’s regressive by any definition, for it takes us back to the bad old days when women were considered second-class citizens and their opportunities were limited. You would think that feminists, especially in Britain, would decry this kind of oppression: amidst their own struggles and protestations of victimhood, that they could spare a word or two for their Muslim sisters. If a woman can wear what she wants, shouldn’t she be able to dance if she wants? And if she does, she shouldn’t get death threats, shouldn’t be vilified, shouldn’t be forced to apologize in tears and promise to repent. Isn’t that behavior that feminists should call out? But we know why they don’t.

One person who did is Maryam Namazie, spokesperson for Iran Solidarity, One Law for All and the Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain.

Bangladesh set to reduce allowable age of child marriage to zero

March 12, 2017 • 11:00 am

According to the site Girls Not Brides, since 1929 the legal age of marriage in Bangladesh is 18 for women and 21 for men. Yet the law is widely flouted: 52% of Bangladeshi girls are married by 18, and 18% by the age of 15. This is the second highest rate of child marriage on the planet. (Note that Wikipedia cites several countries with higher rates of under-18 marriages; Niger, a highly Muslim country, is the highest with up to 76% of marriages involving women under 18.)

Now, in a regressive move, Bangladesh is considering adopting the “Child Marriage Restraint Act”, which has already passed Parliament but awaits Presidential approval. According to an article in The Independent, the old limits will be kept but a new loophole will be introduced that allows people to marry at younger ages “in special cases”, or where such marriages are “in the best interests” of the child. There is no lower age limit for this loophole, theoretically allowing very young girls to get married, or women to marry their rapists or statutory rapists. (Supporters of the bill note that it will also increase punishments of those who violate the Act.)

As the Independent reports:

The Girls Not Brides group said no examples of “special cases” had been given that would make child marriage acceptable, saying other measures such as protecting education and providing economic opportunities for girls would better serve their futures.

. . . “The need to protect the ‘honour’ of girls who have become pregnant was widely cited by the Bangladesh government as the reason for this provision. However marriage is not the best way to protect adolescent girls and exposes them to greater harm.”

Now I’m not gong to pin this solely on Islam, as some African countries with high rates of child marriage are not majority-Muslim, yet have cultural and societal excuses for such marriages. But Islam certainly promotes this kind of behavior by reinforcing the “honour and purity” culture, as well as by the example of Muhammad, who, according to tradition, married one child of six and took her virginity when she was nine and he 53. And other religions, like Mormonism, also promote this reprehensible practice.

The law will be finalized today after the government makes any amendments. The only amendment that should be made is to reaffirm the 1929 law.

Below is a picture from the Independent article with the caption: “15 year old Nasoin Akhter is consoled by a friend on the day of her wedding to a 32 year old man, August 20, 2015 in Manikganj, Bangladesh.”

Getty Images