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Posted in: Islamic Gender & Religious Apartheid, Feminism

Published on Sep 03, 2009 by Phyllis Chesler

Written for Pajamas Media

Chesler-Wolf-Glazov: Round Three


The outpouring of support for my position in favor of universal women's rights both humbles and strengthens me. This struggle is not about me nor is it about Naomi Wolf who so unwisely went to war over one blog of mine which critiqued her written views about the Islamic veil and the oppression/repression of Muslim women.

But now, the issue is also about liberal-left double standards vis-a-vis Free Speech, their incredibly thin skins when they are challenged, not personally, but politically. A different opinion calls for "apologies" and "corrections," perhaps even for a dressing down and a public recantation. I also think that some people have a very hard time when they are exposed as less than perfect.

Thus far, my two recent articles on this subject have received nearly 300 comments, most of which are on point, amazing, hilarious, brilliant, and deadly. They are still pouring in. I did not publish those comments which were gratuitously insulting to Wolf as a woman. No need for that when there are so many important issues involved and so many thoughtful comments. I urge you to read these comments. They "annoint me, my cup floweth over." Readers: Bless you and thank you.

Jamie Glazov, editor of Frontpage Magazine, author of United in Hate. The Left's Romance With Tyranny and Terror and blogger extraordinaire, also just wrote a passionate and serious blog of his own. You see, Naomi not only wrote to me, posted a comment at my blogsite, and left a message in my office–she also wrote to Jamie's employer, David Horowitz, and demanded some kind of "correction" or "retraction" of what Glazov had written in support of my initial blog. Wolf wrote that she was "appalled."

When this happened I heaved a mighty sigh because I knew Wolf had chosen to turn this into something of a campaign that could develop a life of it's own: television appearances, book contracts, calls for a public debate, allegations of "victimhood," perhaps even an attempt at a lawsuit. Perchance, a duel in Central Park?

Glazov points out that when travelers visited Soviet Russia, (Emma Goldman was an exception) they always came home with glowing reports. They were shown Potemkin Villages (not the Gulag) and so wanted to believe the Stalin's Revolution, Mao's Revolution, were good, not evil, that they asked no further questions and did not venture alone off the beaten path. Similarly, I might add: The Red Cross had few questions when they visited the Theresienstadt concentration camp; nothing there but happy, very musically talented Jews.

Correctly, Glazov situates Wolf in this historical context and asks whether she sees the "parallel," the "analogy." Glazov writes:

There is a reason why despotisms and apartheid structures create dress codes. The enforcement of such codes plays a crucial role in keeping the structures of tyranny and the enslavement of a people in check (e.g., Maoist unisex clothing had a ruthless purpose). Ms. Wolf, do you really fail to grasp the fact that dress codes in the Islamic world, such as the niqab and the burqa, play a crucial role in keeping the chains of gender apartheid in place, and that this is precisely why the guardians keep them in place?

No Ms. Wolf, I won't stop worrying about what Muslim women are forced to wear. I care about the Muslim women who have had acid thrown in their faces, or who have been raped or killed or set aflame, because of the dress code they chose not to follow….Ms. Wolf, you cannot, with dignity, talk about any kind of veiling in the Muslim world without the context that there is a ramification, and a deadly one on myriad levels, for a woman who does not veil.

If you travel to despotic lands, where women face social stigma, physical violence, torture and death if they choose not to veil themselves, and if you justify veiling without stressing the consequences for not veiling, then you are in league with the oppressors — and you are calling out for, and are complicit in, the institutionalization of the burqa.

Naomi: Let it go. Think about it. If you can get past feeling personally offended and focus on the political issues involved–and if you can get past wanting to publicly debate me on these issues because attention is good for one's career–then I will meet with you privately to discuss the plight of Muslim women and Muslim men who are in grave danger. My position on Islamic gender apartheid and jihad has been scorned and ostracized by people who move in your circles. For your sake, I am willing to keep our meeting private, even secret.

Your people take no prisoners. And do not allow anyone to depart, even slightly, from the politically correct truth. No wisp of hair can show, no wisp of thought can be out of place.


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