Thursday, March 08, 2007

How my eyes were opened to the barbarity of Islam

Is it racist to condemn fanaticism?
Phyllis Chesler
Once I was held captive in Kabul. I was the bride of a charming, seductive and Westernised Afghan Muslim whom I met at an American college. The purdah I experienced was relatively posh but the sequestered all-female life was not my cup of chai — nor was the male hostility to veiled, partly veiled and unveiled women in public.

When we landed in Kabul, an airport official smoothly confiscated my US passport. “Don’t worry, it’s just a formality,” my husband assured me. I never saw that passport again. I later learnt that this was routinely done to foreign wives — perhaps to make it impossible for them to leave. Overnight, my husband became a stranger. The man with whom I had discussed Camus, Dostoevsky, Tennessee Williams and the Italian cinema became a stranger. He treated me the same way his father and elder brother treated their wives: distantly, with a hint of disdain and embarrassment.

In our two years together, my future husband had never once mentioned that his father had three wives and 21 children. Nor did he tell me that I would be expected to live as if I had been reared as an Afghan woman. I was supposed to lead a largely indoor life among women, to go out only with a male escort and to spend my days waiting for my husband to return or visiting female relatives, or having new (and very fashionable) clothes made.

In America, my husband was proud that I was a natural-born rebel and free thinker. In Afghanistan, my criticism of the treatment of women and of the poor rendered him suspect, vulnerable. He mocked my horrified reactions. But I knew what my eyes and ears told me. I saw how poor women in chadaris were forced to sit at the back of the bus and had to keep yielding their place on line in the bazaar to any man...

I saw how polygamous, arranged marriages and child brides led to chronic female suffering and to rivalry between co-wives and half-brothers; how the subordination and sequestration of women led to a profound estrangement between the sexes — one that led to wife-beating, marital rape and to a rampant but hotly denied male “prison”-like homosexuality and pederasty; how frustrated, neglected and uneducated women tormented their daughter-in-laws and female servants; how women were not allowed to pray in mosques or visit male doctors (their husbands described the symptoms in their absence)...



Jungle Mom said...

This reminds me of the book,"Not Without My Daughter".

USpace said...

Great one, amazing experience and illustration of part of the Religion of Peace, thanks for this!

absurd thought -
God of the Universe says
tolerate intolerance

respect evil practices
like stoning rape victims

SERENDIP said...

JM: that's what I thought too. It's unconsionable how these women are treated.

uspace: They liberals expects us to close our eyes and tolerate the intolerable in the name of cultural sensitivity. The liberals have lost their moral compass and it seems they're not about to find it anytime soon.

USpace said...

You are so right, but I've found that one on one with them you can get through to them. They don't really want to hear it at first, and they put up a few of the same tired "Islam is peace' platitudes, but by laying a few facts on them like:

1.5 billion Muslims and experts say 10-30% want worldwide Sharia and if just 1% of those are wanting 70 virgins and $25k (like Saddam gave) for their impoverished families and so are willing to be a suicide bomber then that's like 1-3 million potential suicide bombings...

absurd thought -
God of the Universe
wants Taliban Earth

that's what liberals want too
destroy all human rights