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Posted in: Islamic Gender & Religious Apartheid

Published on Mar 02, 2011 by Joanne Hill

Written for Jewish Tribune

Western civilization is in a fight for survival: Chesler


Western civilization is in a fight for survival against totalitarian barbarism and women's rights will be the pivotal issue in that battle, warned Dr. Phyllis Chesler. Furthermore, if people in the West choose not to act, they may unwittingly be guilty of complicity with evil.

"Here, then, is exactly where the greatest battle of the 21st century is drawing: totalitarian barbarism versus vulnerable... civil libertarians, in a democracy where there is dissent, where there is freedom of thought, where there is freedom of religion....

"Big lies and monstrous hatred have gone global. Stand against this. Stand for the values of the enlightenment. Stand for truth over lies. Otherwise, if not, we will all be bombed back to the Arabian 7th century.... More than the lights will go out. This time it won't be just the lights going out over Europe, it will be the lights going out over the entire precious world."

Phyllis Chesler's credentials as a leading feminist and human rights activist are impeccable. For decades she was loved and lauded by people in those circles, until she began to speak out against Islamic apartheid and honour killings; now she is shunned by her former comrades and denounced as a right-wing racist.

"The real apartheid," Chesler told the Jewish Tribune in an interview, "is Islamic religious, as well as gender, apartheid. Demonizing Israel is used precisely to divert the world's attention away from the true nature of Islamic apartheid."

In Islamic religious apartheid, Chesler said, non-Muslims are denied equal rights with Muslims. Islamic gender apartheid features normalized abuse of females, forced veiling, female genital mutilation, arranged marriages (often between first cousins in some countries) and honour murders.

Chesler speaks from first-hand experience: as a young woman, she married her college sweetheart and together they left America to visit his family in Kabul, Afghanistan.

When they arrived, her passport was confiscated by airport officials; at her husband's family home, she was surprised to learn that her father-in-law had three wives and 21 children. Her husband shrugged off the effects of 14 years of life in America and resumed the traditional attitudes and role of an Afghani Muslim man, while Chesler was relegated to life under purdah, in which women and men are kept apart as much as possible.

"I then observed," she said in her speech, "the level of suffering and cruelty that would be unimaginable to most Westerners and then I understood that such barbaric practices are indigenous to the region and to the culture and they are not caused by Western imperialism or colonialism or capitalism or certainly Zionism."

Chesler told the Tribune that the threat against the West and its values comes not only from Islamists, but also from those who espouse moral relativism, especially in academia and the media.

"The barbarians are not only at the gates, but they are in our heads: we've got a fifth column, which is my people, the Western intelligentsia, and the Israeli counterpart of that Western intelligentsia. We have a real problem."

Feminism has also failed, due in no small part to moral relativism.

"Feminists, who have become 'Stalinized' and 'Palestinianized,' along with the rest of the intelligentsia and the academics, are not standing up for one universal concept of human rights for all; they're saying, well, everything is relative.... They're not even taking a morally courageous stand using just words. And the few who are or who have – Muslims, ex-Muslim dissidents, myself – are demonized as racists."

For Israel and the Jewish people, "the priority right now is Jewish survival. We are in an existentially perilous state. It is 10 minutes after midnight and we need to now do things that are pre-emptive, not defensive."

When asked by the Tribune whether she believes the world faces the risk of another Dark Age, she said, "Yes, but we don't really know the future. We see barbarism rising, we see a Dark Age rising all over the Muslim world, that's clear, and we see it in Muslim communities in the West, at least in Europe. We see how permeable all the Western values are, that we should be standing for, with great strength and pride and clarity, and that's not the case. The West is filled with apologetics, with guilt, with shame....

"Let's also say that the call for the moderate Muslim is like calling for the good German during the Nazi era. Because if you do not resist, if heroism is not your only alternative, if you are not willing to risk death – and how many people are – then you're part of the problem. Then you end up being complicit with evil. So even if you' re a good person and for all kinds of human and understandable reasons you want to just stay out of the line of fire, you want to stay alive, you can end up in historical terms having been complicit with very radical evil."

In her speech, Chesler shared her concerns about recent events in Egypt and listed statistics from a 2010 Pew Research Study of the attitudes of Egyptians towards Islamic terrorist groups and Islamic (sharia) law. She also discussed some of the findings of her extensive research into honour murders.


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