A conversation on misogyny, ethnic bias and latent racism – Editorial

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SHAFAQNA – On January 12, the Telegraph published a scathing report against Muslim men, alleging that the recent wave of attacks in Germany against women is rooted in Muslims’ contempt and objectification of women.

While no one will deny that there can never be any justification when it comes  to assault – even more so sexual assault, I don’t believe Islam, or even ethnicity has anything to do with someone’s criminal streak.

Venting her anger at those she clearly identified as the guilty party, the enemy to be had and to be denounced Jessica McCallin writes: “I was not surprised by the mass sexual attacks against German women during New Year’s Eve celebrations in Cologne. Shocked by the scale and the audacity of them, yes, but not remotely surprised. When Angela Merkel announced her decision to take in 800,000 refugees this summer, my sisters and I immediately predicted that this was going to lead to big problems for Western women.”

The unabashed racism hiding in those lines are to say the least, disturbing – yet, such position betrays growing antipathies towards migrants, and foreigners in general in western countries. Those democratic capitals which have long positioned themselves as the custodian of human rights and civil liberties are today rationalizing ethnic and sectarian profiling under layers of prejudices and racial bias.

One’s skin color or faith does not imply criminality …

Still, McCallin continues: “In 1993, when I was 17 and my sister were 12 and 11, our family moved to the Turkish capital, Ankara, because of my father’s job with the UN’s refugee agency, the UNHCR. For the next two years we were leered at, jeered at, hissed at, groped and touched, again and again and again, every single time we left the house. The only time this treatment lessened was if we went out with my father. Once I was groped and hit in the face right outside the president’s palace. The guards responded by hooting and laughing and shoving their pelvises at me.”

Again, if individuals did indeed brutally violated McCallin and her sister while they were in Istanbul, it only proves that Turkish society has an issue when it comes to women’s rights, sexual boundary and maybe more broadly a sense of morality.

The actions of a few despicable individuals cannot be pinned on a faith, Islam, which most fervently denounce any form of enslavement, abuse and tyranny cannot be lumped to criminality.

While critics of Islam are keen to overlook certain truths about their own liberal society, it does not take away from the fact that Islam stands a guarantor and advocate for women’s rights … so much so that God laid the Heavens at mothers’ feet.

If men, communities and nations have failed in upholding those principles, if they have failed in the education of their people changes nothing. Islam here is not to blame, rather individuals and systems inability to implement those commands which are enounced in the Quran.

Now, going back to McCallin’s assumption that her attackers were Muslims; are we to assume that in the heat of the attack she paused to inquire about their religious denomination? There are many different faiths in Turkey: Muslims, Christians, Jews, Buddhists, and atheists.

Color is not a declaration of faith, ethnicity does not imply a religion – geography does not speak for a person’s belief by dictating the direction of his or her heart.

Misogyny is unIslamic! Now this is not to say that it does not exist in Islamic countries, only that it should not, and therefore cannot be blamed on Islam.

Misogyny I would argue began its slow poisoning of society in Saudi Arabia, the sit of Wahhabism – the only dogma which has institutionalize, legitimized and rewarded misogyny. In Saudi Arabia women cannot drive or walk alone in the streets. In Saudi Arabia if a woman is raped she faces imprisonment and corporal punishment. In Saudi Arabia women cannot chose whom they marry and they remain the properties of their male guardians until the time of their death.

It is the exportation of Wahhabism across the Middle East, Asia and Africa which has given birth to those social devolutions we are now witnessing.

As to whether or not European countries should legislate immigration, by all means they should if they feel it is what will best promote their fellow nationals’ best interests. BUT, and it is a big but, we ought to remember that we have a collective responsibility towards war refugees – especially when most of the unrest which prompted their departure was brought about by way of western military intervention.

Syrians did not ask to be invaded by hordes of Wahhabi-radicals, it is western powers which have armed, trained and financed those so-called moderates in the name of corporate globalization.

Poverty, destitution and despair should not be criminalized on account they fit within a certain narrative. That is not to say that criminals should not be prosecuted, only that they should answer to the law as men, not as the representative of a faith or an ethnicity.

By Catherine Shakdam for Shafaqna

 

 

 

 

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