Archive for women

Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson: “Wherever Women are Taking Over, Evil Reigns”

Posted in Feature, Loon Pastors with tags , , , , , , , , , , on May 9, 2012 by loonwatch

Rev.Jesse_Lee_Peterson_Women_evil

Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson

by Emperor

Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson is a regular guest on Sean Hannity’s Fox News program and is usually brought in to be the token Black man who comes on to legitimate and provide cover for Hannity’s “criticism” (i.e. thinly-veiled racism) of the Black community. Hannity also happens to sit on the board of Rev. Peterson’s organization, BOND. (h/t: Ali)

Rev. Peterson is quite the kook, and of course every religion has ‘em, but here he is bemoaning the progress women have made in the US, saying all of the social ills we have today are due to women:


So I guess Conservatives don’t just believe in the “Islamization” of society, but also the “womenization” of society?

As you can see he wants women to be stripped of the right to vote, taken out of positions of power and essentially returned to being obedient, child producing, housewives who obey and submit to men. He even ridicules his grandmother!

Can one imagine the reaction if an Imam had said something similar to what Rev. Peterson said? Wouldn’t Islam once again be cast as the uniquely and inherently “misogynistic” faith that is irreconcilable with modernity?

Will we hear similar attributions of misogyny and anti-women positions to Christianity now?

Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson, along with Robert Spencer also happen to be on the list of the Young America’s Foundation‘s (YAF) “Conservative speakers.”

Spencer has appeared as a guest on Rev. Peterson’s radio show, directly after Peterson’s anti-women screed. There goes Spencer and Geller’s so-called concern for the ‘human rights’ of women! They have no problem schmoozing with clerics who want to role back the right of women to vote but will gladly try to smear Muslims as honor-killing-pro-pedophilia-misogynists:

Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson Sexist Sermon: ‘Greatest Mistake America Made Was Allowing Women To Vote’ [VIDEO]

by Jacob Kleinman (ibitimes)

Frequent Fox News guest Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson drew sharp criticism for arguing that women should not have the right to vote in a sermon that was posted on YouTube in March. The minister argued that women are destroying American society and wield too much political power.

Fox News host Sean Hannity has invited Peterson to speak on his show several times, even after the offensive sermon was posted online.

Even News Corp CEO Rupert Murdoch, corporate master of Fox, disagreed with Peterson’s sexist rant according to theDaily Mail. He tweeted in response, “When? Women voting is best thing in a hundred years.”

“I think that one of the greatest mistakes America made was to allow women the opportunity to vote,” Peterson said in the sermon.

Peterson even went so far as to associate woman in politics with evil.

“We should’ve never turned this over to women,” he said. “It was a big mistake. … And these women are voting in the wrong people. They’re voting in people who are evil who agrees (sic) with them who’re going to take us down this pathway of destruction.”

“And this probably was the reason that they didn’t allow women to vote when men were men,” he continued. “Because men, in the good old days, understood the nature of the woman. They were not afraid to deal with it and they understood that if they let them take over, this is what would happen.”

This is not Peterson’s first controversial and offensive statement. He previously said “thank God for slavery” because it brought African people to the United States.

Peterson has also stated, “Barack Obama hates white people, especially white men.” He argued that men should be legally permitted to hit their wives and expressed a desire to take “all black people back to the South and put them on the plantation so they would understand the ethic of working.”

During his most recent offensive statement, the sermon titled “How most women are building a shameless society,” he said women are incapable of making good decisions because they get too emotional.

“You walk up to them with an issue, they freak out right away,” he said. “They go nuts. They get mad. They get upset, just like that. They have no patience because it’s not in their nature. They don’t have love.”

Peterson appeared on Fox News last week after being invited again by Sean Hannity, and was confronted by Democratic commentator Kirsten Power, who called the sermon “misogynistic.”

“I have a responsibility to tell the truth,” replied Peterson. “You’re on the side of lies. Why shouldn’t I be on the side of truth? And it’s the truth that’s going to make us free. Somebody gotta tell the truth, so I’m going to tell the truth.”

Peterson is the president and founder of the Brotherhood Organization of a New Destiny, a group pushing a conservative agenda among African Americans where Hannity sits on the board, and its allied BOND Action Inc. In the past he has hosted a radio talk show and a cable TV program. He is well known for fighting against affirmative action and is a member of Choose Black American, a black group fighting illegal immigration.

Originally posted on What if they were Muslim?

Why Do They Hate Us? They Don’t.

Posted in Feature, Loon Politics with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 26, 2012 by loonwatch

Mona Eltahawy, an Arab-American journalist, created a firestorm when Foreign Policy Magazine published her article “Why Do They Hate Us?”.  If you thought the they and us refers to Muslims and Americans, you’d be wrong.  In fact, they is Arab men, and us is women.  Her article is a stabbing critique of Arab culture, which she finds to be heavily misogynistic.

If that wasn’t provocative enough, she goes further: according to her, these Arab men hate women.  ”Yes: They hate us. It must be said.”  To prove her argument, she issues a challenge: “Name me an Arab country, and I’ll recite a litany of abuses [against women] fueled by a toxic mix of culture and religion.”  The rest of the article is a recitation of that litany, interspersed with jazzy catchphrases such as “[w]e are more than our headscarves and our hymens” and “poke the hatred in its eye.”

There is no way to deny the basic premise that the status of women’s rights in the Arab world is abysmal.  Why then did Mona Eltahawy evoke such a hostile reaction from even the Arab women whose rights she seeks to protect?  The easy answer, one that Eltahawy and her supporters might argue, is that these women are simply brainwashed.  Too much “Islamism” in their little brains.  The problem with this argument is that it’s sexist.  It’s basically saying Arab women are too stupid to think for themselves.

The real reason that Arab women recoil after reading Eltahawy’s article is that, while she tries to connect to them based on their gender, she attacks other aspects of their core identity: their race, nationality, religion, and culture.  In fact, her racist (and somewhat babbling) screed is nothing short of a vicious attack on their entire civilization.

Eltahawy cites “a toxic mix of culture and religion” as the source of the abuses against women.  Oddly, she later says, “You — the outside world — will be told that it’s our ‘culture’ and ‘religion’ to do X, Y, or Z to women.”  Yet, it is Mona Eltahawy herself who is arguing precisely that.

By attacking their core identity, Eltahawy has succeeded in alienating her own audience.  Imagine, for instance, an American feminist arguing for greater rights for African women, while at the same time assailing the black race, African culture, and traditional tribal religion.  How receptive or thankful do you think these African women would be?  How pleased would the black or African community be if someone was writing articles about how backwards their culture is?

Mona Eltahawy’s article engages in trite, racial stereotypes.  Legitimate problems in the Arab world are sensationalized.  They hate women.  What an absurd exaggeration!  They have mothers, sisters, wives, and daughters–and it is reasonable to assume that, like other human beings on earth, they love them.

A man can love his wife and still abuse her.  He can have undying affection for his daughter but still wrong her in horrible ways.  But, by going so far as to say they hate women, Eltahawy has dehumanized them.  One recalls similar invective against Palestinian parents: they don’t love their children.  The message being sent is: they are worse than animals.

Women’s rights is an area of concern in many parts of the developing world, not just the Arab world.  Why single out Arabs?  Women face major obstacles in India.  Should we demonize the Hindu religion and the great Indian civilization?

Eltahawy lists off “a litany of abuses”, bringing up extreme cases to make her point.  By citing isolated cases and stacking them all up together, she ends up portraying an imbalanced and biased picture of the Arab world.

Racists don’t see nuance.  They lump all people of a certain group altogether.  That’s exactly what Mona Eltahawy does in her article.  She paints the entire people of that region–or at least its men–with one broad bush.  They hate women.  All 170 million of them.

In fact, not all Arabs are alike.  During my travels in the Muslim world, I saw all sorts of people, with a broad diversity of views.  I met conservative Muslims, liberal Muslims, atheists, Christians, Communists, hippies, you name it.  No sweeping generalization could be made about them (aside for, perhaps, their disgust of American foreign policy).

It is true that I was deeply disturbed by the mistreatment of women, religious and ethnic minorities, poor people, servants, and animals.  But, I also met people there–men, no less–who were also deeply disturbed by these things and would have no part in it.

Just as the viral Kony 2012 video drew criticism for reinforcing the idea of White Man’s Burden, so too does Mona Eltahawy’s article tap into historically racist Orientalist attitudes towards the Arab world.

By firmly pegging abuses against women to the Arab culture and Muslim religion, Mona Eltahawy’s article was nothing short of bigotry.  Indeed, one could hardly tell the difference between Eltahawy’s article and what could normally be found sprawled on numerous Islamophobic websites, such as Robert Spencer’s JihadWatch and Pamela Geller’s Atlas Shrugs.  It is almost a surety that her article will be approvingly cited on such sites, which pit “our civilized, freedom-loving civilization” against “those barbaric, women-hating peoples.”

Had Mona Eltahawy been just any ole’ Islamophobe hacking away at the keyboard–had she been a Robert Spencer or a Pamela Geller–her article would hardly have made headlines.  It would have been just one of thousands and thousands of such hateful rants on the internet by anti-Muslim trolls.  But, like Irshad Manji and Asra Nomani, Mona Eltahawy has an official “I’m a Muslim” card.  That’s even better than the official “I’m an ex-Muslim” card that bigots like Ayaan Hirsi Ali and Nonie Darwish proudly carry.  It’s probably even a step above the “I’m a former jihadi terrorist” gold card.  Eltahawy holds the platinum card and gets extra points for being a woman.

As other pundits have noted, Mona Eltahawy is–along with Irshad Manji, Asra Nomani, Tarek Fatah, Zuhdi Jasser, etc.–acting in the role of the “native informant.”  Monica L. Marks writes on the Huffington Post:

Why Do They Hate Us?” asks the latest cover of Foreign Policy magazine. Beneath the title stands a cowering woman wearing nothing but black body paint resembling the niqab, or full Islamic face veil.

Egyptian feminist Mona Eltahawy authored the article. Her central contention — that Arab Muslim culture “hates” women — resurrects a raft of powerful stereotypes regarding Islam and misogyny. It also situates Ms. Eltahawy’s work within a growing trend of “native informants” whose personal testimonies of oppression under Islam have generated significant support for military aggression against Muslim-majority countries in recent years.

Books by these “native voices” — including Ayaan Hirsi Ali’s “Infidel,” Azar Nafisi’s “Reading Lolita” in Tehran, and Irshad Mandji’s “Faith Without Fear” — have flown off the shelves in post-9/11 America despite being roundly rebuffed by leading feminist academics such as Columbia University’s Lila Abu-Lughod and Yale’s Leila Ahmed. Saba Mahmood, another respected scholar, noted that native informants helped “manufacture consent” for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan by serving up fear-inducing portrayals of Islam in “an authentic Muslim woman’s voice.”

Although such depictions have proven largely inaccurate and guilty of extreme generalizations, they have become immensely popular. Why? Because these native “testimonials” tell us what we in the West already know — that there’s something inherently misogynistic about Muslims and Arabs.

By stirring up our sympathies and reinforcing our prejudices, individuals like Ms. Hirsi Ali and Ms. Eltahawy have climbed to the top of the media ladder. Their voices are drowning out the messages of more nuanced, well-respected scholars.

Marks goes on to say:

Her fault lies in extrapolating broad cultural judgments from context-specific abuses, implying that Islam and Arab culture writ large are have toxically combined to create a hopelessly backward region that “treats half of humanity like animals.”

These native informants just tell us what we want to hear.  Their job is to increase hatred of Arabs and Muslims, something that is needed in order to sustain our multiple wars of aggression in that part of the world.

Native informants do not help fix the problems they point to.  Why, for example, did Mona Eltahawy choose to publish her article in Foreign Policy, an American magazine?  Why didn’t she write it for an Arab/Arabic publication, with a primarily Arab readership?

Instead she chose Foreign Policy Magazine, which was founded by none other than Samuel P. Huntington.  His famous Clash of Civilizations theory pit the Judeo-Christian West against the Muslim world.  How very fitting that Mona Eltahawy’s us vs. them article was published in the magazine he founded.

Eltahawy’s audience is clear:

You — the outside world — will be told that it’s our ‘culture’ and ‘religion’ to do X, Y, or Z to women.

Monica Marks writes:

 It is important for her readers, however, to understand the dangers of sensationalist coverage that over-simplify complex matters of gender, politics, and religious observance in Muslim-majority countries.

History is rife with examples of seemingly women-friendly arguments hijacked in the service of imperialistic and aggressive ends. While emotional and sensationalist portrayals such as this most recent Foreign Policy cover will sell copies, they do little to deepen our understanding of the contexts and conditions shaping women’s oppression in Arab countries today.

Indeed, the issue of human rights was routinely used by the colonial powers to justify the conquest and expropriation of land.  The Americas, including the land that is now the United States, was brutally conquered and stolen by Europeans on this very basis.  The indigenous peoples were portrayed as savages needing civilizing.  The white man would bring them “democracy”, “freedom”, and “civilization” (Operation Iraqi Freedom?).

In her article, Mona Eltahawi enumerates numerous abuses Arab women face.  However, none of these inhumanities–not even female genital mutilation–can be considered as problematic as the cannibalism and human sacrifice that the indigenous peoples of the Americas sometimes engaged in.  And yet, whatever failings the indigenous peoples had in their culture and civilization, it is now widely understood who the real savage was.

We can continue to pat ourselves on the back for how civilized we are, how free our women are, how we are so much better than them.  But, none of that will change the fact that we are the ones waging wars of aggression and occupation in the Muslim world.  We are the ones killing hundreds of thousands of their innocent men, women, and children.

It was in another article, also published in Foreign Policy with almost the exact same title–Why They Hate Us?–that Prof. Stephen Walt calculated the number of Muslim lives the U.S. has extinguished:  “a reasonable upper bound for Muslim fatalities…is well over one million, equivalent to over 100 Muslim fatalities for every American lost.”  To use a jazzy catchphrase of my own: mutilating a baby girl’s genitals is horrible, but dropping a bomb on her head is much worse.

Danios was the Brass Crescent Award Honorary Mention for Best Writer in 2010 and the Brass Crescent Award Winner for Best Writer in 2011.

Women in Parliament: Islamists in Tunisia Field More Women as Candidates than the Percentage of Women in the US Congress

Posted in Feature with tags , , , , , , , , , on February 23, 2012 by loonwatch
TUNISIA_Women_ParliamentTunisian Parliament–Nov 23, 2011

Whenever a Western power wants to invade and or bomb a Muslim nation one invariably hears about how the “women are oppressed in ________(insert Muslim nation of choice)” and “we must liberate them from the clutches of those evil, backward, misogynistic Muslim men.” That is one of the reasons we’ve termed the bombing, invasion and occupation of Muslim lands, the Greater Islamophobia.

Interestingly, when one analyzes say…the number of women in positions of power in countries across the world, we see the percentages of women in parliament to be higher in many majority Muslim nations than in parts of the West. [These statistics also buttress the fact that more Muslim nations have had female leaders, (Presidents, Prime Ministers) than the USA!]

Below we have a list of countries whose percentages of women in parliament is higher than the USA, which ranks a dismal 71st.

*Afghanistan (I have added an asterisk here because this nation is under foreign occupation and the results for many are not considered legitimate. However it is still interesting that Afghanis, some of the most vilified people in the world today when it comes to views of women vote for them at a higher percentage than Americans.)

Rank Country Lower or single House Upper House or Senate
Elections Seats* Women % W Elections Seats* Women % W
30 Afghanistan 9 2010 249 69 27.7% 1 2011 102 28 27.5%

Tunisia is not a surprise to many who know the country, but lets put these numbers into perspective. The Islamist party Ennahda won elections, they are known as “moderates,” but within the media, especially the Right we see an effort to translate Ennahda’s victory into a harbinger for the repression of women’s rights and other usual hoopla associated with Right-wing anti-Islam rhetoric. As the Angry Arab, As’ad Abu Khalil remarks, “I just figured that Tunisian Islamists fielded more women as candidates than the percentage of women in the US Congress.”

32 Tunisia 10 2011 217 57 26.3%

*Iraq

36 Iraq 3 2010 325 82 25.2%

Sudan

37 Sudan 4 2010 346 87 25.1% 5 2010 28 5 17.9%

Kyrgyzstan

45 Kyrgyzstan 10 2010 120 28 23.3%

Senegal

46 Senegal 6 2007 150 34 22.7% 8 2007 100 40 40.0%

Pakistan

47 Pakistan 2 2008 342 76 22.2% 3 2009 100 17 17.0%

Mauritania

48 Mauritania 11 2006 95 21 22.1% 11 2009 56 8 14.3%

Uzbekistan

49 Uzbekistan 12 2009 150 33 22.0% 1 2010 100 15 15.0%

Tajikistan

60 Tajikistan 2 2010 63 12 19.0% 3 2010 34 5 14.7%

Bangladesh

63 Bangladesh 12 2008 345 64 18.6%

Indonesia

65 Indonesia 4 2009 560 101 18.0%

Kazakhstan

66 Kazakhstan 8 2007 107 19 17.8% 8 2011 47 ? ?

United Arab Emirates

67 United Arab Emirates 9 2011 40 7 17.5%

All of the above nations did better than the USA.

Here are two Western nations who you’d think would have done better in the numbers and who wax eloquent about “women’s rights,” even using it as a pretext to bomb and invade nations:

61 France 6 2007 577 109 18.9% 9 2011 348 77 22.1%
71 United States of America 2 11 2010 434 73 16.8% 11 2010 100 17 17.0%

Of course some of the above Muslim nations still have low percentages, however my purpose here is not to draw conclusions but to add to the empirical evidence when it comes to the discussion of women, women’s role in Muslim societies and women’s rights.

As the battle over birth control, invasive procedures before abortion, etc. rages on in the USA, the above stats provide a healthy if sobering perspective to the belligerent discussion in the looniverse about Muslim women.

The Modern Muslim Woman is Who She Chooses to Be

Posted in Anti-Loons with tags , , , , , , , , , , on January 11, 2012 by loonwatch
Hijabi Surfer
Photo by: Sadaf Syed

My Life: the modern Muslim woman is who she chooses to be

By Maryam Ismail (The National)

Where did this image of the oppressed Muslim woman come from and when will this battle against it stop? Growing up on a diet of Saturday TV matinees, every “Muslim woman” I saw in the movies was a belly dancer with a lot of chiffon wrapped around her. Mata Hari, who was actually a Dutch divorcée who recreated herself as a Javanese Hindu princess, changed the world of exotic women forever. In the films of old it was the dance of the seven veils that would woo a man into revealing secrets of war. Today, it seems there is the idea that under one’s hijab lies some mystical inner working, one that needs to be covered up by another layer of normality.

This seemed to be the idea at a recent panel discussion called “The Role of Muslim Women in Society”. This discussion was part of the ICover photograph exhibit by Sadaf Syed at the Sharjah Museum of Islamic Civilization. This exhibit is a sort of official debut of the new American Muslim. This newly christened, hybrid identity is one that hopes to erase all ties with Muslim cultural, ethnic and linguistic history.

The exhibit tries to show Muslim women breaking the boundaries of so-called tradition. Muslimah rockers, surfers and boxers are some of the examples of the “modern Muslim woman”. OK, that may be well and good, but I am so tired of this conversation. Muslims are people and by virtue of this essential fact, they are going to do what they want. Perhaps some might wag a finger and proclaim this is un-Islamic. Others will argue that traditional (Islamic) ideology is a thing past and shout: “Come on now, get over it.”

iCoverPhoto by: Sadaf Syed

I am so over hijab hysteria.

Standing on the sidelines of this discourse is like watching a dog chase its tail with the sincere hope of catching it. And if he does, what will happen? More than likely, he’ll yelp and bite himself again for being so stupid. Why should it be a special event if a woman who wears a hijab decides to be a fencer or a ballerina? Is it out of the realm of faith? Some may not think so and others may not care. Then, there may be another premise: that wearing the hijab will show the world that Muslim women have arrived. However, I think that if this is the case, they may end up being the oldest debutantes at the ball.

This was the case during the panel discussion sponsored by the US Consulate in Dubai. On the panel were the fashion designer Rabia K, the media consultant Wafa KBR, the artist Najat Mekky and the US foreign service officer Marwa Zeini. The first three are Emirati women who have been successful in their fields despite their covering Islamically and came to discuss their experiences. I don’t want to steal my sisters’ thunder – they deserve their applause, because their journeys have not been easy – but they were managing their lives as they see fit, within the context of their circumstances.

“Muslim women should wear clothes that they can run and play in,” Zeini said. Was she trying to tap into my unconscious and force me to do battle with my former self? Just then, I got an uneasy feeling that someone was going to kidnap me the moment I stepped into the streets, and then announce the next day that I was miraculously freed by Brad Pitt and American values.

If anything, I wish someone would rescue me from this endless notion that a woman is nothing unless she aspires to run with the big boys or tosses her Muslim soul into the sea and declares she’s free at last. Can we please talk about something else?

Maryam Ismail is a sociologist and teacher who divides her time between the US and the UAE

Islamophobes Build Faux Memorial for Muslim Victims on Land that Muslims Cannot Own

Posted in Feature, Loon-at-large with tags , , , , , on September 7, 2011 by loonwatch
Aqsa Parvez

We here at Loon Watch have documented many of the perverse and reprehensible statements of those in the Islamophobic blogosphere. However, sometimes these loons take their disgusting behavior and rhetoric to another level. It is safe to say that these loons have a burning hatred in their hearts for Muslims and the religion of Islam, despite their hollow claims to the contrary (Pamela Geller claiming that she “loves Muslims” or Robert Spencer being pushed to say that Islam molds its followers to be moral and upright individuals).

Previously, Geller and Spencer attempted to exploit the Rifqa Bary incident to their advantage. However, their ridiculous claims that the girl’s life was in danger were dispelled by law enforcement who told all sane individuals that the parents were cooperating and posed no threat to young Rifqa. Despite the police’s claims to the contrary, the loons continued to use Rifqa’s situation to promote their hate fest against Islam and Muslims.

So it is nauseating to read that bigots like Geller and Spencer have decided to “honor” a Muslim girl named Aqsa Parvez who was murdered in 2008 by her father for not practicing her faith the way her father wanted. Geller used the opportunity to exploit the murder of this young Muslim girl for her anti-Muslim agenda by creating a “memorial” in Aqsa’s honor.  In reality, it is nothing but a monument symbolizing “everything that is wrong with Islam” in the mind of Pamela Geller.  She is weaponizing a young girl’s grave site.

Geller raised money, asking her anti-Muslim fans to support the erection of a headstone at the site of Aqsa Parvez’s grave in Canada. “All was going according to plan,” says Geller, until Aqsa’s family refused to use such a headstone from her.  What is amazing is that Geller didn’t seem to anticipate this, and instead raised $5,000 from her supporters anyways.  One wonders why she is so incredulous: does it take a rocket scientist to figure out why a Muslim family wouldn’t want to erect an anti-Muslim headstone on their daughter’s grave site?  A headstone funded by people who absolutely hate their religion?

Says Geller further: “The family (yes, the family that murdered her) had refused to ‘sign off’ on the headstone.”  The family didn’t kill Aqsa Parvez.  Her father and brother did.  They are both serving life sentences for her murder.  I seriously doubt they had any legal say in what is placed on Aqsa’s grave.  It was likely the mother who decided against using such a headstone.  One could hardly expect her to do otherwise, considering she is Muslim herself.

It is even doubtful that Aqsa Parvez herself would support the headstone.  It is quite possible, even probable, that Aqsa would renounce her self-proclaimed benefactor Pamela Geller.  Based on what we know, Aqsa was most likely still a Muslim, and never renounced her religion altogether.  Why would she want to associate herself with people who vilify her own religion and all its adherents?  Like many young Muslims, she might simply have been rebelling against a strict interpretation of Islam–a firebrand, conservative form of it.  Why is it a given that she rejected the entire religion of Islam, as Geller et al. would imagine?

After being rebuffed by the family, Geller shopped around for a place to erect a memorial and finally decided upon Israel.  Writes Geller:

I approached the JNF and worked to plant the Aqsa Parvez Grove in American Independence Park in Jerusalem, Israel, where the plaque before the grove will read: “In Loving Memory of Aqsa Parvez and All Victims of Honor Killings Worldwide.

The irony of the location perfectly encapsulates the absurdity of the whole thing.  The JNF, the Jewish National Fund, is a quasi-governmental organization in Israel that does not sell land to non-Jews, certainly not to Muslims.  Indeed, the JNF has been at the forefront of stripping Muslims of any land rights in the state of Israel.  Quite literally then, the “memorial” for Aqsa Parvez is built on land that she herself could never own.  She could not own her own “memorial.”

But of course that was the point.  The choice of Israel was intended to be especially inflammatory.  With very good reason, no country earns the ire of Muslims more than Israel, which illegally occupies and oppresses its Muslim population.  Choosing Israel as the site for this “memorial” is meant to give the Muslim world the middle finger.  It would be like the KKK selecting apartheid-era South Africa as the site to erect a “memorial” to honor victims of black-on-black violence during the 1960′s.  Nobody would take the KKK’s “memorial” seriously, and everyone would know that they don’t give two damns about the black victims.  The point would be to vilify black people, not honor them.  Likewise, the “memorial” for Muslim victims is not meant to honor them but vilify Muslims.

The idea of career anti-Muslim bigots creating a “memorial” for Muslim victims is truly a laughable notion and people should see through the thin fog of bigotry on display.  This faux memorial is a sadistic propaganda attempt by Geller and Spencer to exploit the death of a young girl for their agenda to link a disgusting crime to Islam and Muslims.

Rampant Sexual Harassment of Women…in the West

Posted in Feature, Loon-at-large with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 5, 2011 by loonwatch

Anti-Muslim bigots such as Robert SpencerPamela GellerGeert Wilders and co. love to trot out the talking point that Muslims (due to Islam of course) are unique in harassing and oppressing women. According to them, anytime a Muslim man harasses or otherwise assaults a woman it is considered a result of Islam or somehow encouraged by “Islamic behavior.”

This belief, however, is not limited to anti-Muslim bigots but has also crept into the popular imagination and perception of the mainstream. This was evident during the Egyptian Revolution when reporters, pundits and opinion-makers latched onto the Lara Logan incident as a marker for Arab and Muslim societies, viewed as monoliths that are separately “unique” when it comes to the treatment of women.

Take for example Bill Maher, who took the incident as an opportunity to explain why “our culture” is better than “theirs” (Arabs, Muslims). We reported on Maher’s comments at the time:

On his last show Bill Maher went on a speel undermining the Democratic character of Revolutions sweeping across the Arab world. Amongst his ludicrous statements he claimed “women can’t vote in 19 of 22 Arab countries,” that “women who have dated an Arab man, the results aren’t good,” that “Arab men have a sense of “entitlement,” etc. He also went onto forward the argument that “we are better than them,” justifying it by implying he is not a “cultural relativist.”

Such statements not only defy facts and logic, not only are they racist but they serve to undermine the truth about the status of women in the world today. Maher’s all too typical tirade covers up the fact that what is at the heart of the problem is not a clash of cultures or civilizations (the familiar “us vs. them” paradigm), or a simple difference in the degree of harassment.

Reality asserts that at the end of the day, women are mistreated across the globe, across cultures, races, and religions at unfortunately high and gross levels.

The website Stopthestreetharassment.com deals with the issue of harassment, and in its category on statistics does away with the myth that somehow “harassment” and “assault” are unique to men from the Middle East or Muslim countries. The report indicates that this is a world-wide pandemic ranging from such divergent places as India, Europe, Egypt, Latin America and of course…the USA.

In its report on Statistics, stop the street harassment informs us:

In one of the first street harassment studies ever conducted, Carol Brooks Gardner, associate professor of sociology and women’s studies at Indiana University, Indianapolis, interviewed 293 women in Indianapolis, Indiana, over several years in the late 1980s and early 1990s. The women were from every race, age, class, and sexual orientation category of the general population in Indiana and the United States. She oversampled women of color to better represent their experiences. Gardner found that every single woman (100 percent) could cite several examples of being harassed by unknown men in public and all but nine of the women classified those experiences as “troublesome.”

Using a national sample of 12,300 Canadian women ages 18 and older from 1994, sociology professors Ross Macmillan, Annette Nierobisz, and Sandy Welsh studied the impact of street harassment on women’s perceived sense of safety in 2000. During their research, they found that over 80 percent of the women surveyed had experienced male stranger harassment in public and that those experiences had a large and detrimental impact on their perceived safety in public.

Laura Beth Nielsen, professor of sociology and the law at Northwestern University conducted a study of 100 women’s and men’s experiences with offensive speech in the California San Francisco Bay Area in the early 2000s. She found that 100 percent of the 54 women she asked had been the target of offensive or sexually-suggestive remarks at least occasionally: 19 percent said every day, 43 percent said often, and 28 percent said sometimes. Notably, they were the target of such speech significantly more often than they were of “polite” remarks about their appearance.

During the summer of 2003, members of the Rogers Park Young Women’s Action Team in Chicago surveyed 168 neighborhood girls and young women (most of whom were African American or Latina) ages 10 to 19 about street harassment and interviewed 34 more in focus groups. They published their findings in a report titled “Hey Cutie, Can I Get Your Digits?” Of their respondents, 86 percent had been catcalled on the street, 36 percent said men harassed them daily, and 60 percent said they felt unsafe walking in their neighborhoods.

In 2007, the Manhattan Borough President’s Office conducted an online questionnaire about sexual harassment on the New York City subway system with a total of 1,790 participants. Nearly two-thirds of the respondents identified as women. Of the respondents, 63 percent reported being sexually harassed and one-tenth had been sexually assaulted on the subway or at a subway station. Due to collection methods used, the report “Hidden in Plain Sight: Sexual Harassment and Assault in the New York City Subway System” is not statistically significant, but it suggests that a large number of women experience problems on the subway system.

The author’s own studies support the pervasive and widespread nature of the problem of harassment that exists in the USA,

Nearly every woman I have talked to about this issue has been harassed by men in public. Further, every woman can cite strategies, such as avoiding going in public alone at night, which she uses to avoid harassment and assault. To learn more about women’s harassment experiences I conducted two informal, anonymous online surveys about street harassment: one in 2007 for my master’s thesis at George Washington University and one in 2008 as preliminary research for a book. Between both surveys, there were 1,141 respondents. Similar to the other studies conducted on street harassment, nearly every female respondent had experienced street harassment at least once.

In my first online survey, conducted during the spring of 2007, I asked the 225 respondents: “Have you ever been harassed (such as verbal comments, honking, whistling, kissing noises, leering/staring, groping, stalking, attempted or achieved assault, etc) while in a public place like the street, on public transportation, or in a store?” Ninety-nine percent of the respondents, which included some men, said they had been harassed at least a few times. Over 65 percent said they were harassed on at least a monthly basis.

Over 99 percent of the 811 female respondents (916 respondents total) of the second informal survey I conducted in 2008 said they had experienced some form of street harassment (only three women said they had not). In one question they could indicate the types of interactions they have had with strangers in public, here is a sampling of their responses.

  • Leering
    Ninety-five percent of female respondents were the target of leering or excessive staring at least once, and more than 68 percent reported being a target 26 times or more in their life.
  • Honking and whistling 
    Nearly 95 percent of female respondents were honked at one or more times and 40 percent said they are honked at as frequently as monthly. Nearly 94 percent of female respondents were the target of whistling at least once and nearly 38 percent said it occurred at least monthly.
  • Kissing noises
    Just over 77 percent of women said they were the target of kissing noises from men and 48 percent said they’ve been the target at least 25 times in their life.
  • Making vulgar gestures
    Nearly 82 percent of female respondents were the target of a vulgar gesture at least once. About twenty percent said they had been a target at least 51 times.
  • Sexist comment
    Over 87 percent of women said they were the target of a sexist comment, and about 45 percent said they’ve been a target of a sexist comment in public at least 25 times in their life.
  • Saying sexually explicit comments
    Nearly 81 percent of female respondents were the target of sexually explicit comments from an unknown man at least once. More than 41 percent have been the target at least 26 times in their lives.
  • Blocking path
    About 62 percent of women say a man has purposely blocked their path at least once and 23 percent said this has happened at least six times.
  • Following
    Seventy-five percent of female respondents have been followed by an unknown stranger in public. More than 27 percent have been followed at least six times.
  • Masturbating
    More than 37 percent of female respondents have had a stranger masturbate at or in front of them at least once in public.
  • Sexual touching or grabbing
    Nearly 57 percent of women reported being touched or grabbed in a sexual way by a stranger in public. About 18 percent said they have been touched sexually at least six times.
  • Assaulting
    About 27 percent of women report being assaulted at least once in public by a stranger.

These jarring statistics of abuse, harassment and assault upon women in the “enlightened, culturally superior” West should give us pause and a heavy dose of perspective on the meaning of that age old adage, men are pigs.

Once and for all let us quit the holier-than-thou hypocritical obfuscation of the facts and realities on the ground when it comes to women and harassment. Women do not feel safe on Western streets, not because of the “evil Mooslims” but because too many men are unable or unwilling to control themselves.

To rectify this pandemic we must not divert the truth but face it head on. Instead of resorting to racist diatribes, innuendo, hate speech and efforts to destroy a race, religion and culture, organize to stop the harassment and aid in creating a safe space for women in our societies as opposed to the present status quo on our streets.

I encourage everyone to visit StoptheHarassment.com and check out how to End It.

It’s Official: Bill Maher is a Racist

Posted in Feature, Loon Media with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 22, 2011 by loonwatch

How long will Bill Maher get a pass on his racism and anti-Muslim Islamophobia? Is it acceptable because the targets are Arabs and Muslims and because Maher is a comedian from whom outrageous things are expected?

On his last show Bill Maher went on a speel undermining the Democratic character of Revolutions sweeping across the Arab world. Amongst his ludicrous statements he claimed “women can’t vote in 19 of 22 Arab countries,” that “women who have dated an Arab man, the results aren’t good,” that “Arab men have a sense of “entitlement,” etc. He also went onto forward the argument that “we are better than them,” justifying it by implying he is not a “cultural relativist.”

No, Bill might not be a “cultural relativist” but he sure sounds like a “cultural supremacist.” His factual accuracy about the Islamic and Arab world is akin to Robert Spencer’s. It is patently false that “19 of 22″ Arab states don’t allow for women to vote, a brief trip to Wikipidea would have disabused him of that false fact:

Women were granted the right to vote on a universal and equal basis in Lebanon in 1952[46]Syria (to vote) in 1949 [47] (Restrictions or conditions lifted) in 1953 [48]Egypt in 1956[49]Tunisia in 1959 [50]Mauritania in 1961[51]Algeria in 1962 [52]Morocco in 1963 [53]Libya [54] and Sudan in 1964 [55],Yemen (Partly)in 1967 [47] (full right) in 1970 [56]Bahrain in 1973 [57]Jordan in 1974 [58]Iraq (Full right) 1980 [57] Oman (Partly) in 1994 and (Fully granted) 2003 [59], and Kuwait in 2005 [57].

The reality, (what is lost on Maher) is that even though nearly all Arab states allow for voting for men and women, their votes didn’t matter in the autocratic kleptocracies that littered the Middle East, and this is what Arabs — men and women — have been fighting against these past few months. It seems Maher just can’t handle all the myths he’s been pushing being shattered.

Bill Maher goes onto talk about how Arab men are bad spouses and boyfriends, to buttress his points he brings up “anecdotal” evidence and his opinion that Arabs have a “sense of entitlement.” How does Bill know? Has he dated Arab men? This is one of those things that is so ridiculous and patently unsubstantiated that it is beyond being laughable, you almost cringe with embarrassment for how stupid it makes Maher look.

Maher also seemed to use “Arab” and “Muslim” interchangeably, perhaps not knowing that a significant number of Arabs are not Muslims. While there are certainly problems in the Middle East and the Muslim world regarding the treatment of women, Maher judges Arabs and Muslims by their lowest common denominator. Ignoring countries such as Turkey, Indonesia, Malaysia, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Tunisia, Lebanon, Jordan and others that have progressive legislation regarding women and which have had women presidents, prime ministers, parliamentarians, business leaders, sports icons, journalists, etc.

At the end of the day Maher needs to have someone on his show who can push back against the myths that he indulges in and propagates. Someone of the caliber of As’ad Abu Khalil or Juan Cole might be a good start.

You can watch the segment at Mediaite:

Bill Maher Slams Muslim Men’s Treatment Of Women, Gets Heckled By Audience Member

(Mediaite)

Maher was having it out with Smiley over relative treatment of women in Muslim countries and American society – Smiley didn’t argue that Muslim countries often exhibit poor attitudes toward women, but argued treatment of women in America has a long way to go, too. Maher called it a “false equivalency,” and it went on from there. Maher read off a list of the ways women are oppressed in Arab countries – in 19 of 22, they can’t vote; in Saudi Arabia they aren’t allowed to drive; etc.

Then, he got into slightly weirder territory. He asserted that “civilization begins with civilizing the men,” and then, after saying, “I know this is anecdotal” (not an auspicious way to start when you’re trying to make a convincing argument), unleashed this line:

“Talk to women who’ve ever dated an Arab man. The results are not good.”

Maher added they have a “sense of entitlement,” indeed quite the anecdotal piece of “evidence,” and one to which guest Michelle Caruso-Cabrera shot back, “Every man I’ve ever dated has a sense of entitlement.” And Maher kept on having none of Smiley’s argument that Americans shouldn’t act superior about treatment of women and rejected the notion he was “demonizing” anyone by saying Americans’ treatment of women is better:

“They’re worse. What’s wrong with just saying that?”

And it continued on like that until a guy in the crowd started yelling about Hellfire missiles…and yelling, and yelling. He rattled off so much so quickly (though most of it was tough to hear) that Maher guessed it was a prepared speech…a guess buoyed by the fact that the rant, as Maher also pointed out, indeed didn’t have a whole lot to do with what the panel was talking about. Video of the segment below – the interruption begins at the 5:32 mark.