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Sharia is not Progressive

We have a problem when progressives who have not done their homework lazily bow down to oppressive Islamic ideology for fear of being labeled Islamophobic.

As a progressive, I fear what it means when a proponent of Sharia Law rises in the ranks of progressive causes such as the national Women’s March last January.

My original piece calling out the disgrace was promptly taken down. Perhaps the Huffington Post has matured a bit in the past months. Perhaps speaking to the particular horrors of Orthodox Islam will not evoke knee-jerk fears of Islamophobia.

Last January thousands of women came to protest the new administration and to express fears of losing our rights. But the terrifying irony of having Linda Sarsour and her extreme version of Islam pose as the face of Feminism is weird and spooky. Not progressive.

When I joined the Women’s Movement in the seventies I never imagined this marriage of Sharia and Feminism. We were taking off our bras and no longer taking orders from men. I even gave my beautiful male Buddha figurines away. It was a moment in time, separation from the Patriarchy. I have since (to the chagrin of my favorite Chabad rabbi) replaced my Buddhas.

Did Gloria Steinem who raised her fist with Sarsour do her homework? Do Jewish educators who “Stand with Sarsour” care that they are standing in solidarity with someone who preaches they cannot be Feminists if they are Zionists? Do they think Sarsour’s buddy Rasmeah Odeh the convicted terrorist is a hero for taking part in the murder of two young Jews?

Who is Sarsour to say we cannot be Feminists if we are Zionists? A Hamas supporter, a very smart fast-talking woman who understands the laziness of people who just don’t’ want to do their homework.

Does anyone supporting Sarsour care about her crude attacks against Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a Muslim reformer, a woman who continues to try to bring to light the dark night forced upon women in countries operating under Sharia? Sarsour’s vicious tweets on how Hirsi Ali doesn’t deserve to have a vagina for speaking out against genital mutilation and forced marriage which Hirsi Ali endured and fled, are disgusting.

Rachel Maddow had her on her show and empathized with Sarsour on the discriminatory limits of Sharia Law in the U.S. Seriously?

I cry over the cunning manipulation we in the free world are prey to.

It might appear hip and cool, and maybe even sexy, to have Sharia observant women lay scarves on the heads of well-meaning women marching to protect our freedoms if it wasn’t so manipulative. Wearing a head covering is not a big deal if it’s a choice. If a woman wants to dress modesty and cover her hair, there is plenty of room to do that in the United States. Orthodox Jews have their own laws to follow or not to follow. “Modesty” is freely practiced.

Sharia Law is not a choice.

It is not Islamophobic to be against Sharia any more than it is sexist to arrest men who batter women.

Sharia law is poison for women trapped in countries that devalue and oppress and sit on their heads, crush their spirit and their minds.

Sharia law is legalized abuse of women and girls.

In the U.S. we strive to criminalize not elevate abuse towards women.

We have laws set up to prevent and care for abused women. Battering women, rape, the horror of genital/clitoral mutilation, and forced marriage are against the law. Women have equal rights in divorce. The list goes on.

Women dressed “immodestly” in the Iran of the mullahs are dragged off the streets and beaten.

Women are stoned in public for disobeying, for shaming their family, the men in Afghanistan.

They live in fear.

Little girls are married off to old men.

Gay men are thrown off rooftops and unspeakable horrors are freely committed against them.

It just isn’t progressive to elevate the most primitive forms of sexism and repression.

Women under Sharia law are controlled by their fathers, brothers and uncles in ways American women used to having civil rights cannot imagine.

We need to speak up, Hirsi Ali reminds us tirelessly, “because they cannot.”

If those trapped in worlds ruled by Islamic law could speak up without having to face consequences we in the free world don’t want to imagine, they would. In a heartbeat.


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