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Do Arab Men Hate Women? Mona Eltahawy Faces Firestorm

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Lebanese-American journalist and blogger Roqayah Chamseddine commented in a post entitled Us and Them: On Helpless Women and Orientalist Imagery:

Not only has Eltahawy demonized the men of the Middle East and confined them into one role, that of eternal tormentors, as her Western audience claps and cheers, she has not provided a way forward for these men. Are they eternally damned? Is this their own manifest destiny, one which has been predetermined at the point of conception? Do they have no way out of the sweeping accusation which brands them as natural haters of women? What of male feminists, are they forever struggling against their innate urge to hate women? Mona Eltahawy has penned both men and women into a non-negotiable situation, charging men with hatred and women with helplessness; and as a woman of colour, of Middle Eastern origin, I will not allow my voice to be co-opted. Mona Eltahawy may be one of us, but she is not “us” nor does she define us.

Egyptian human rights activist Hossam Bahgat tweeted:

@hossambahgat: “Muslims hate their women” is no different from “Muslims are essentially violent”. What a great disservice to our fight

In a post called “I don’t really think they hate us!”, assistant professor of journalism Nahed Eltantawy referred to “the empowered Arab women of the Arab Spring”:

When I look at these Arab heroines, who have made their people proud, I don’t see hate. I see love, compassion and understanding between young men and women who are willing to work together to create better lives, more freedoms and more just governments for everyone. So, to Eltahawy, I say that your column does not represent me as I don’t feel hated. I do have concerns, which might be similar or different to my sisters in Egypt. But I’m confident that whatever social, cultural, political and economic problems I personally face, these are challenges that can be fought instead of simply blaming them on misogyny.

Ayesha Kazmi, who blogs as American Paki, was disappointed at the way Eltahawy’s article spectacularly splintered feminism:

To claim that the “real war on women is in the Middle East” stakes the legitimacy of Arab women in the war against women, that I view as a global phenomenon not unique to Arab women, while leaving millions of non-Arab women, also victims of systemic misogyny, to fend for themselves. Mona has dangerously isolated non-Arab women from a war that is global. If Mona wanted to specifically address the plight of Arab women, she should have done so without appropriating the entire war as uniquely her own. Take the greater Muslim world for example, could she honestly look an Afghani or Pakistani woman in the eyes and read the title of this piece to them without recoiling?

US-based Middle East scholar Shadi Hamid commented:

@shadihamid: Whatever you think abt @monaeltahawy’s piece, says a lot that the very ppl she’s trying to “liberate” seem to mostly disagree w her.

 

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Photos of Mona Eltahawy on her release from an Egyptian prison, both arms broken by soldiers during her arrest via twitpic

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153 comments

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9:20AM PDT on Aug 26, 2012

Isn't it interesting to see and read about the different views on wheather arab women have any rights in pst-revolution Egypt and that none of the debaters are made up by any ordinary woman, who was at Tahrir square, who were attacked by men, who were checked for virginity and are still treated as second class because the islamist took over?

9:33AM PDT on May 7, 2012

Kathleen L “if "enlightened" Muslims do not speak out and support the women of Islamic countries, then they are just as guilty of perpetuating this violence and subjugation as those who physically doing it.”
I regularly get press releases from the Muslim Council of Britain. You wouldn’t believe how much and how often thery speak out against such behaviour, utterly condemning it when it occurs. But no newspaper will ever publish it. It’s not ‘sexy’ enough.

Allan Y – “Muslim women are the sat upon, spat upon women of the world. “
Don’t tell my (female muslim) friends that – they’ll sit on you, spit on you, might even sh*t on you.

9:27AM PDT on May 7, 2012

cont ...

Kathleen L “if "enlightened" Muslims do not speak out and support the women of Islamic countries, then they are just as guilty of perpetuating this violence and subjugation as those who physically doing it.”
I regularly get press releases from the Muslim Council of Britain. You wouldn’t believe how much and how often thery speak out against such behaviour, utterly condemning it when it occurs. But no newspaper will ever publish it. It’s not ‘sexy’ enough.


Allan Y – “Muslim women are the sat upon, spat upon women of the world. “
Don’t tell my (female muslim) friends that – they’ll sit on you, spit on you, maybe even sh*t on you.
(And I might even join them).

I spent 40 years of my life fighting for female equality. Now, it seems, I'm fighting against ignorance and Islamophobia. Thank God I'm not in America or I'd have to fight for gay rights as well.

9:21AM PDT on May 7, 2012

Gillian M – “Men are to rub dirt on their hands if there is no water to purify them following casual contact with a woman (such as shaking hands).”
It’s SAND, not ‘dirt’. Sand, unlike dirt, has a cleansing effect. It is used before prayer if no water is around.

Lee H – you don’t seem to know that orthodox JEWISH women also cover their hair. What you think you’re seeing may in fact be a very expensive wig. They are also enjoined to ‘cover their entire bodies’ – as indeed are the Amish.
Read more: http://www.care2.com/causes/do-arab-men-hate-women-mona-eltahawy-faces-firestorm.html#ixzz1uCSgwWOr
Honor killings were endemic in (Roan Catholic) Sicily until the middle of last century and still prevalent in some cental Asian countries today..
“Lack of rights to education (in many Islamic countries)” Hardly, since most (Islamic) countries have a higher proportion of female university students.
An epidemic of men throwing acid into women's faces and bodies for any number of transgressions. Happens in too many countries to be specifally a ‘muslim’ thing.
Kathleen L “if "enlightened" Muslims do not speak out and support the women of Islamic countries, then they are just as guilty of perpetuating this violence and subjugation as those who physically doing it.”
I regularly get press peleases from the Muslim Council of Britain. You wouldn’t believe how much and how often thery speak

9:19AM PDT on May 7, 2012

cont ...

Rob & Jay B – “Mohammed said:"…...Is not the evidence of two women equal to the witness of one man?..This is the deficiency in her intelligenge...a woman can neither pray nor fast during her menses...This is the deficiency in her religion." Bukhari 1:6:301”

I doubt very much that he said anything of the kind, as it totally contradicts the Koran, as well as other ahadith.


Error in previous post - I meant to say FG isn't a muslim practice, though also practiced by muslims (and christians, and tribal peoples) in Africa.

9:16AM PDT on May 7, 2012

Pam W says - “IN NO WAY does the situation in the West re: women's rights equal the oppression of the Islamic world.

“If you've never traveled in Islamic countries....you can't imagine it. And…..that's not boasting--it's the truth. Women are nearly invisible in much of the Muslim world, especially outside cities. Their genitals are mutilated, they're denied the most basic of human rights and they have no identity aside from "wife of ____" or "mother of ____."
Well, I’ve travelled extensively – alone – in many muslim countries and have never found women to be ‘invisible’. Quite the opposite, in fact, and I’ve never had problems meeting them or getting involved in quite deep discussions with those of the who speak English (a growing number these days).
Genital mutilation is not a muslim practice – it’s pan-African and is/was practiced by many tribes
As to identity – you’re being very selective. Women generally keep their own surnames, but after otherhood may be referred to as ‘Um – ‘ (‘mother of – ‘. While en who become fathers may be referred to as ‘Abu – ‘, or ‘father of - ’

Rob & Jay B – “Mohammed said:"…...Is not the evidence of two women equal to the witness of one man?..This is the deficiency in her intelligenge...a woman can neither pray nor fast during her menses...This is the deficiency in her religion." Bukhari 1:6:3

7:10AM PDT on May 4, 2012

PS: see: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-dvyKY6Kgbg&feature=plcp

For the first in a series of videos on the underlying CAUSE of women (and girl) inequality; disrespect and abuse.

AC Linn.

7:05AM PDT on May 4, 2012

As it is completely irrational for anyone to 'hate' another human being (or group of human beings) because of their gender, race or skin color.

Yet no one can say that 'women' have not been shown hatred (for centuries) in one form or another by men.

Why? What is the underlying reason or excuse for this? "The first woman was made out of the first man's rib?" And, therefore, she (body, mind and soul) is man's 'possession.' To be used or abused at will? Or, the "first woman ate a forbidden fruit and, in so doing, caused the downfall of all mankind?" When neither of these statements (or beliefs) is TRUE?

No. Women are not only heartily tired of being treated as second-class citizens, but are also going to rise up en masse against abuse and the (ineffectual or non-existent) laws that continue to permit it.

In the meantime, the message to any man who believes he has the right to touch (let alone harm) any woman (or girl) is "HANDS OFF!" (Or else!)

9:13AM PDT on Apr 30, 2012

Thank you.

2:45AM PDT on Apr 30, 2012

Elaine A

You know the majority of Muslim men then, do you?

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