Liberating Muslim women

Nothing would change Islam more than freeing its women from pre—medieval oppression. Hirsi Ali is famous as a woman brought up in Islamic Somalia who fled to Holland and came of age there. Now the Dutch have turned tail and expelled her (then changed their minds), and she has been hired by the American Enterprise Institute. What a great gift to our country and the West. 

In her first essay for AEI Hirsi Ali makes a fundamental point:

European policy—makers have not yet understood the huge potential of liberating Muslim women. They are squandering the single best opportunity they have to make Muslim integration a success within one generation.

There are obvious moral arguments for liberation. Ms. Ali also presents the pragmatic reasons: Fundamental human rights for women is the single most important step toward Muslim assimilation. Women are always the power players inside the family, no matter what their public role appears to be: mother, wife, daughter — they are biological power roles. And the family is always the unit of traditional culture. It follows that women are the key to constructive change.

I once worked for a volunteer suicide hotline, and fielded a call from a Palestinian woman who had fallen in love with a married man. She wanted advice; but that would have been arrogant and futile. I just tried to say she had human rights. Multiply her story by hundreds of millions and you get some sense of the invisible ferment roiling the Muslim world beneath the chador. Liberation for women (and also men) is not a solution to all problems; it is just the beginning of tackling them. But it's a whole lot better than oppression.

Europe has simply closed its eyes to hundreds of "honor killings," the cynical importation of multiple wives, fraudulent marriages to confer citizenship on illegals and genital mutilation of girls. America has been noticeably better than Europe, but we are still far too much in denial.

In the  long term, liberating Muslim women could lead to a reverse wave of cultural influence, going from humane countries to those that "stopped thinking nine hundred years ago," as Ali writes.  All it takes is guts. But nothing will really change until we simply tell the truth about our values, and enforce them wherever we can.

Culture clashes happen all the time in human history. Sometimes rapid migrations destroy their host cultures, in the jihad invasions destroyed Persia and Buddhist India in the centuries after Mohammed. More often, in Western societies, waves of immigrants come to some beneficial arrangement with their host. But Islamic migration is a tougher challenge than anything the West has faced in centuries.

If there is one point of leverage it is the liberation of Muslim women. All it takes is outreach.

Hat tip Peaktalk

James Lewis   9 03 06

Nothing would change Islam more than freeing its women from pre—medieval oppression. Hirsi Ali is famous as a woman brought up in Islamic Somalia who fled to Holland and came of age there. Now the Dutch have turned tail and expelled her (then changed their minds), and she has been hired by the American Enterprise Institute. What a great gift to our country and the West. 

In her first essay for AEI Hirsi Ali makes a fundamental point:

European policy—makers have not yet understood the huge potential of liberating Muslim women. They are squandering the single best opportunity they have to make Muslim integration a success within one generation.

There are obvious moral arguments for liberation. Ms. Ali also presents the pragmatic reasons: Fundamental human rights for women is the single most important step toward Muslim assimilation. Women are always the power players inside the family, no matter what their public role appears to be: mother, wife, daughter — they are biological power roles. And the family is always the unit of traditional culture. It follows that women are the key to constructive change.

I once worked for a volunteer suicide hotline, and fielded a call from a Palestinian woman who had fallen in love with a married man. She wanted advice; but that would have been arrogant and futile. I just tried to say she had human rights. Multiply her story by hundreds of millions and you get some sense of the invisible ferment roiling the Muslim world beneath the chador. Liberation for women (and also men) is not a solution to all problems; it is just the beginning of tackling them. But it's a whole lot better than oppression.

Europe has simply closed its eyes to hundreds of "honor killings," the cynical importation of multiple wives, fraudulent marriages to confer citizenship on illegals and genital mutilation of girls. America has been noticeably better than Europe, but we are still far too much in denial.

In the  long term, liberating Muslim women could lead to a reverse wave of cultural influence, going from humane countries to those that "stopped thinking nine hundred years ago," as Ali writes.  All it takes is guts. But nothing will really change until we simply tell the truth about our values, and enforce them wherever we can.

Culture clashes happen all the time in human history. Sometimes rapid migrations destroy their host cultures, in the jihad invasions destroyed Persia and Buddhist India in the centuries after Mohammed. More often, in Western societies, waves of immigrants come to some beneficial arrangement with their host. But Islamic migration is a tougher challenge than anything the West has faced in centuries.

If there is one point of leverage it is the liberation of Muslim women. All it takes is outreach.

Hat tip Peaktalk

James Lewis   9 03 06