When Lara Logan traveled to Egypt to cover the Tahrir Square protests, she was unaware that she was going to be working in a country where sexual harassment rates of women and especially foreign women are so high as to be universal. In a politically correct profession, such truths are politically incorrect. And even now all of the coverage studiously avoids mentioning one dangerous word. Islam.
Muslim rape culture did not begin in Tahrir Square and it won’t end there. Not when it actually began in the year 624 when Mohammed came up with an ingenious means of rewarding his followers. In addition to the trophies of war, he made it legal for them to capture and rape married women.
Previously that would have been considered adultery. Now it was an incentive to become one of Islam’s Holy Warriors. It doesn’t take much to imagine how ugly and awful the camp of Mohammed’s followers was for a woman. That’s why the Burka was invented.
Muslim apologists insist that the Burka has something to do with female modesty. But the Koran spells out clearly the reason for it. “Tell your wives and your daughters and the women of the believers to draw their cloaks (veils) all over their bodies that they may thus be distinguished and not molested.” The Hijab was invented for similar reasons in 1970’s Lebanon to mark out Shiite women so they wouldn’t be molested by Muslim terrorists. The purpose of the Burka was closer to a cattle brand, separating women married to Muslim husbands, from slave women who were captured in war. The former were the property of their husbands and untouchable, the latter were fair game for everyone. To a Muslim, the Burka is a sign that says, ‘only my husband may rape me’ and the lack of a Burka means, ‘everyone can rape me.’
When Australia’s Grand Mufti Sheikh Hilaly justified a notorious series of gang rapes by comparing women to uncovered meat left out in the presence of a cat, he laid out the basis of Muslim rape culture. Women are always the guilty party, because they are women. If they refuse to defeminize themselves by putting on a Burka and becoming just another dark ghost haunting the streets of Cairo or Sydney with their lack of selfhood, then they are automatically guilty of their own rape.
In the West rape is a crime because it an assault on a human being. In Islam, it is only a crime because it is a sex act that takes place outside of marriage. In many Islamic countries, ‘Zina’ meaning adultery or immoral sexual conduct in general, is a charge that can be levied against both the rapist and his victim. Even in a case where Mohammed ordered the execution of a rapist, he first ‘forgave’ his victim for her part in it. To the extent that Islam criminalizes rape, it is as a property crime or a disruption of public order. And it imposes a high standard of proof that is unlikely to be met.
In Islam, women are objects, not subjects. Physically their entire bodies are considered ‘Awrah’,an Arabic word meaning ‘nakedness’, ‘fault’ or ‘defect’, terms that amply sum up the Islamic view of women. Even their voices are considered ‘Awrah’ meaning that even a fully covered up woman speaking is an immoral thing. A woman exists within Islam as an immoral object. And that gives Muslim men implicit permission to assault her, while holding her very nature accountable for tempting them to commit the act.
Islam does not consider rape to be a crime against a woman. It is a crime against their fathers and husbands. There is no crime involved in a husband raping his own wife. That is a ruling Muslim scholars continue to preach today. And the UK’s Islam Channel was shut down for broadcasting that view. Under Islamic law, a husband is fully entitled to beat his wife if she refuses to service him until she finally consents. The woman has no control over her body. Only the men she belongs to do.
In a tribal society, rape is a crime against property and honor. To a father, his daughter’s virginity is a valuable item that increases her market value. Marrying her off is way to build a relationship between two families. To a husband, his wife’s chastity maintains the value of his property and insures that the offspring is his. To assault a woman is to commit a crime against the communal property of a family. But a woman herself has no rights over her body that any man is bound to respect. As Lara Logan discovered in Tahrir Square.
An unaccompanied woman is ownerless. A foreign woman is outside the protection of the tribal system which uses family vendettas to settle disputes. It’s no wonder that the already stratospheric sexual harassment rates in Cairo climb to a universal value where foreign women are concerned.
The Burka placed responsibility on women to defeminize themselves and mark themselves as property. Centuries of Islamic jurisprudence put the burden of responsibility for any assault on a woman as the object that tempts men to sin. The circular reasoning of Islam says that if a man assaults a woman, it is because she tempted him. That femininity is inherently an object of temptation. The Burka and the Hijab began as a way of defeminizing women for their protection, but then became an indictment of women. Women were no longer being defeminized to protect them, but to protect men from them.
Why else do women have to be defeminized, their faces masked and their voices silenced, if there isn’t some terrible mysterious force about femininity that causes men to act out? That is exactly what the first president of Iran claimed, when he said that, “Scientific research had shown that women’s hair emitted rays that drove men insane.” More recently an Iranian cleric explained that women who do not dress modestly corrupt men and cause earthquakes. The flight routes of Iranian planes had to be diverted from a stadium where women played soccer for fear that their hair rays might affect passengers in the planes above.
Behind this hair ray nonsense lurks an uglier notion, that women are unnatural creatures and that men are not responsible for their conduct around women. If a man rapes a woman, maybe her hair rays made him do it. If they can cause earthquakes, why not. Western legal culture says that men have more control over a situation with a woman. Islamic jurisprudence creates reasons why women do to exonerate their rapists.
How do you sell the notion of equal rights to people who view women as dangerous objects that have to be kept under lock and key?
Under Islam a woman can’t say ‘no’ except passively by defeminizing herself. By remaining in Purdah at home or taking a mobile purdah along by covering up her entire body and face in a Burka, never meeting a man’s eye or speaking to him. And even if she follows all those rules and is still assaulted, then maybe those hair rays can punch through stifling black cloth after all. There’s no way for a woman to be innocent, except by never being born. As an object, she is always guilty of luring men on. The levels of guilt may vary. If the levels are low enough, then she may be ‘forgiven’ for causing immorality and her rapist may face punishment. And her family may still kill her anyway to bury the shame that she represents for them along with her body.
Like all social rules, they don’t apply equally. The daughter of a wealthy and westernized urban family will enjoy an immunity from them, that the daughter of a poor family in a village will not. The wealthy daughter will attend the London School of Economics, use Twitter and serve as an example that her country and Islam are really very liberated. The poor daughter will be a second wife to some bored fat merchant and be considered lucky if he doesn’t beat her to death when she loses her looks.
Meanwhile the young men will roam the streets bored and frustrated. They will steal anything not nailed down, join protests and sexually harass women. When Western reporters poured into Cairo to report on a pro-democracy movement, they surrounded themselves with what they thought were pro-democracy protesters. What they were actually doing was walking into one of the largest overcrowded cities in the world, where gangs of protesters had smashed the police, and created an open state of anarchy. Muslim rape culture did the rest.
As far as her attackers were concerned, Lara Logan had no rights they were bound to respect. She wasn’t the wife or daughter of anyone they knew. She wasn’t even a Muslim. They had no bond of kinship with her. Which meant that just like the uncovered in Mohammed’s camp, she didn’t belong to anyone. And that meant she was fair game.
In Muslim rape culture, a woman cannot actively decline a man. She can only passively demonstrate that she is off limits by defeminizing herself. Lara Logan hadn’t done that. But even if she had, it wouldn’t have done much good. Previous gang assaults on women in Cairo a few years back had targeted even those covered from head to toe. To add fuel to the fire, came the chants of, “Yahood, Yahood.” “Jew, Jew”. Mohammed’s ruling had made it legal to capture and rape Jewish women. The association may not have been directly made, but indirectly it was there. Lara Logan had been marked as a member of an enemy tribe.
The reasoning is awkward, but Islamic jurisprudence is the product of such awkwardness. It derives from the will of Mohammed whose only consistent principle was to do whatever he wanted. As a prophet he frequently made and broke his own laws, and then made new ones. Four witnesses are required for an act of sexual immorality, because at one point three witnesses accused Mohammed’s own wife of such an act. Prior to that Mohammed had taken action based only on a single witness.
Mohammed modified the law to allow him to marry his son’s wife and to shift the turns of his own wives. After Mohammed had received another urgent ‘revelation’ allowing him to do as he sexually pleased, his wife Aisha said, “O Allah’s Apostle I do not see but that your Lord hurries in pleasing you.” There you find the whole of Islamic jurisprudence. It was a code that existed only to please Mohammed’s sexual impulses.
If Allah existed only to enable women to sexually service Mohammed– what agency can women have in Islam?
Muslim rape culture springs from that same code. A code that exists to please and flatter the Muslim male and demean the female as an inferior specimen, whose body is filth, whose form is corruption and who can only be good to the extent that she becomes a non-person. Remaining quiet and out of sight. It begins with the inferiority of women, and ends with a paradise filled with eternal virgins who can never say no. What do women get, some ask. But it doesn’t matter. It was never intended for them.
From NY to Jerusalem , Daniel Greenfield Covers the Stories Behind the News. Daniel Greenfield is a blogger, author and columnists covering international affairs, the rising threat of terrorism and the growing problems of socialism. His daily blog can be viewed at Sultan Knish.