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World ; Humanists, ex-Muslims say Europe weak on Islam rights
April 21, 2005 8:53 AM   Subscribe

"European governments are allowing Islamic fundamentalists to trample on the rights of Muslim women under the guise of respecting different cultures, campaigners said Monday, citing instances of forced marriage, domestic violence and genital mutilation. The activists, including outspoken Dutch parliamentarian Ayaan Hirsi Ali, called on European countries to do more to combat human-rights abuses in Muslim immigrant communities, particularly those directed against women." [+]
posted by jenleigh (72 comments total)

 
"Muslim women in European countries 'are beaten, they are forced to marry,they are genitally mutilated, they are taken by their parents to their country of origin and kept there against their wills,' Hirsi Ali said. 'Sometimes they are even killed.'

"Hirsi Ali, a Somali immigrant who has become a prominent women's advocate in the Dutch parliament, said European countries have to accept that women are more threatened within Muslim communities than in their wider secular societies. Governments must take measures to protect these vulnerable women, even if such action is deemed culturally insensitive to the Islamic community or leads to accusations of anti-Muslim bias,' she said."
posted by jenleigh at 8:54 AM on April 21, 2005


What do you expect from the feckless Euros? There, path of least resistance rules!
posted by ParisParamus at 9:03 AM on April 21, 2005


And in turn, what does one expect in a PP comment?
posted by clevershark at 9:06 AM on April 21, 2005


(please don't get this thread off to a bad start by talking to PP.)
posted by mcsweetie at 9:09 AM on April 21, 2005


Great post about an important issue. There are probably similar situations in immigrant communities in the U.S. In Kansas a few years ago some middle eastern men wre charged with rape after their forced brides escaped and contacted the authorities.
posted by LarryC at 9:17 AM on April 21, 2005


It's really tough to sympathize with societies that have gone so secular as those in the EU. On the other hand, I feel tremendous compassion for the woman at issue here. (They would, of course, be better off exiting Islam, but that's a tangential issue).
posted by ParisParamus at 9:19 AM on April 21, 2005


For those who haven't seen it, iFilm hosts a short of Ali's/Van Gogh's polarizing film Submissions, Part I.
posted by jenleigh at 9:20 AM on April 21, 2005


Jenleigh, it might be better to put the emphasis on Holland rather than Europe, even though the politician in question is talking about the continent.

That's not to say it doesn't happen, and it's not isolated to Muslim communities, either. Dowry murders do happen and they are linked to *other* religions.

I know it's fashionable to display the barbarism of the men who are Muslims, but it's by no means isolated to Muslims. There's lots of men of many faiths who do bad things to women. Of course, one could argue it's all part of the religion, QED and all that.

Good link, by the way.
posted by gsb at 9:23 AM on April 21, 2005


Are jenleigh and PP the same person?
posted by bardic at 9:24 AM on April 21, 2005


Don't feed the trolls.
posted by ludwig_van at 9:27 AM on April 21, 2005


This whole post is a troll.
posted by mr.marx at 9:30 AM on April 21, 2005


If you think so, don't comment on it. Really.
posted by ludwig_van at 9:34 AM on April 21, 2005


It's really tough to sympathize with societies that have gone so secular as those in the EU.

Actually, secularism (and/or it's influence) is being promoted here as a means to justify the protection of these individuals. Without it, I doubt this would even be an issue.
posted by juiceCake at 9:38 AM on April 21, 2005


gsb: I know it's fashionable to display the barbarism of the men who are Muslims, but it's by no means isolated to Muslims.

That may be true, but rarely do men of other faith mutilate the genitals of women. I do believe that's an exclusively Islamic tradition. Nor do they go out and kill filmmakers who portray their faith in a poor light. Nor do they stone raped women for the sin of adultery. Nor do they burn women for the same reason. I mean, I do understand what you're saying, but please don't attempt to defend what these people are doing to others under the banner of "faith". Any defense of THAT bullshit is not fashionable.
posted by billysumday at 9:40 AM on April 21, 2005


Here's another page on FGM, which offers solutions rather than righteous anger and repression. It also points out that not all Muslims are favourable to the practice, and that it is by no means only Muslims who do it. BTW, don't treat Europe as a single entity; it isn't. Look into theFrench record on FGM. Away from the media circus, other governmental social agencies throughout Europe have been looking into how to tackle the problem. On the day when you wake up to the fact that it has become widespread in the USA as well, you will do well to look over the big pond.
posted by TimothyMason at 9:43 AM on April 21, 2005


It also points out that not all Muslims are favourable to the practice

That should be blatantly obvious.
posted by dublinemma at 9:48 AM on April 21, 2005


"European governments are allowing Islamic fundamentalists to trample on the rights of Muslim women European citizens under the guise of respecting different cultures."

many of these "women" are young girls born and raised in europe and yes, PP, the europeans have been more than "feckless" in their attempts to protect these vulnerable citizens.

but considering europe's history of brutal repression of its minorities, a little restraint is probably a good thing.
posted by three blind mice at 9:50 AM on April 21, 2005


Jenleigh, it might be better to put the emphasis on Holland rather than Europe, even though the politician in question is talking about the continent.

The issue has become a serious one all over Europe in regard to cultural integration; Holland has just been in the spotlight more in the past few years. And true, it is not limited to Muslim communities, but they are the focal point for many, and for obvious reasons.

Your profile indicates you're in Paris—I assume you're not unfamiliar with stories like this:

Samira Bellil wasn't asking for trouble, but trouble came to her. She's the granddaughter of Algerian immigrants and she's written a book about surviving the hell of the Paris ghettos.

"I was gang raped by three people I knew, and I couldn't say anything, because in my culture, your family is dishonored if you lose your virginity,” says Bellil. “So I kept quiet, and the rapes continued. The next time, I was pulled off a commuter train and no one lifted a finger to help me. …Everybody turned their head away. They were all looking out the window.”


Or this:


Paris has seen an explosion of rapes committed by Middle Eastern males against French women in the past 15 years. The rapes are committed not only for sexual gratification: there are also deep racial undertones, along with threats of violence and retribution.

What is more alarming is the identical reaction among some sections of the media and criminologists in France: they downplay the race factor and even gang up on those who try to draw attention to the widening gulf between Middle Eastern youths and the rest of French society.


Are jenleigh and PP the same person?
Sorry, no ;)

I have visited both Paris, France and New Jersey (near Paramus) if that counts.
posted by jenleigh at 9:51 AM on April 21, 2005


What do you expect from the feckless Euros? There, path of least resistance rules!

See, clever trolls manage to lay their baited comment and not look like a stupid, slack-witted moron at the same time. That's what separates the clever troll from ParisParamus.
posted by Decani at 9:51 AM on April 21, 2005


It's essential that any country enforce its laws equally for all people.

Europe's problem is not being too leniant, it's not caring. These immigrants come for work but are generally not accepted by society and find it very difficult to become part of their new country. European governments need to devote more attention to this problem or they will have a much larger problem.

Part of treating people equally is enforcing the law equally, but that's not the only component that is missing in the Euro/Immigrant relationship.

Another thing to remember is that these same problems exist with non-Muslim immigrants from Asia/Africa/E. Europe in rich European countries. It's not just about one culture, but about general lack of care wrt to immigrant communities in Europe.
posted by chaz at 9:54 AM on April 21, 2005


Seriously, de-emphasizing the issue of women's rights because it was presented (in this case) from a right-wing perspective is pretty disgusting and low.

That said, gsb is right--coerced marriage, genital mutilation (which to my understanding is an African tribal ritual, not an Islamic one, although I could very easily be wrong), and domestic abuse aren't limited to Islam. Hell, we have enough problems with domestic abuse in our overwhelmingly Christian south. One could EVEN go so far as to argue that the media's depiction of single women as "old maids" or "desperate" is just as coercive, as it presents marriage as the only "respectable" option for a woman.

At the same time, excusing things that are wrong because they are part of an outdated/misinterpreted religious doctrine is ridiculous--we don't let Christians get away with it, and we shouldn't let anyone else.
posted by scarymonsterrrr at 10:01 AM on April 21, 2005


Hell, it's not limited to Muslims. Roman Catholic priests have quite a history of abuse, too. And then there are the polygamist Morman cult groups, like that in Bountiful, BC. And I had a Sikh or Hindu friend back in high school that was pre-married. There are all sorts of minor cultie groups in which the leader is kiddy-fucking all his adherent's children.

Seems to me the problem isn't with a specific religion, but mostly with the people who lead a religious group.
posted by five fresh fish at 10:07 AM on April 21, 2005


billysumday: Actually, the tradition predates Islam and is practiced by several cultures. Plenty of artists have been harmed or killed through the centuries for counter-religious art, and in Judges 19 a Levite rips his concubine limb from limb and sends the limbs to the whole lands of Israel for adultery. Evil is certainly not rare in Islam, but it is not born of Islam.

European countries most certainly need to protect these people's rights -- there is no need to believe in a Supreme Being to bring this about. Secularists are perfectly justified in setting limits to tolerance, but some of them appear not to realize this. Evil is not rare in secular society, but it is not born of secular society. There are plenty of good, non-religious reasons to fight it.
posted by ontic at 10:08 AM on April 21, 2005


It must be amusing for "y'all" sat up there on your North American Rock, looking down on us crazy Europeans and our stupid mistakes. Look at us here, so far away, like tiny little ants, and so many mistakes, and really you wonder how we manage to even breathe without your help.

I have two words for this thread.
Fuckwittery and Disinformation.
posted by seanyboy at 10:10 AM on April 21, 2005


That may be true, but rarely do men of other faith mutilate the genitals of women. I do believe that's an exclusively Islamic tradition
No it isn't. In many African countries, FGM is a pre-islamic tradition that is practiced in Muslim, Christian and Animist communities. A survey in Mali shows that 47% of Christian women and 72% of Muslim women have had at least one of their daughters circumcised. Amnesty International has a page about the prevalence of FGM by country. What does happen, of course, is that the groups that follow the tradition claim that it has its roots in religion, which is Islam in most of the cases.
In France, most of the Muslims are from North African countries (Algerian, Morocco, Tunisia) where the tradition is unknown, and the FGM cases that are brought before the courts are about women from Mali and other sub-saharian countries, so the perception here is that it's not a Muslim tradition but rather a "Black" African one.
posted by elgilito at 10:20 AM on April 21, 2005


May I point out that NO ONE in this thread is saying there isn't a women's rights issue here? NO ONE. Let's burn down that little strawman before it gets out of hand, OK?

There are, however, some other, actual disagreements here, including:

1) Whether the problem is particularly bad in Europe because of a misdirected attempt at cultural sensitivity, as the linked articles claim, or whether it is more likely an example of disregard of "minority" problems by those in authority;

2) Whether the problem is particularly bad in Europe, as opposed to other countries, at all, or if Europe is simply having a spotlight shining on the issue right now.

3) In a larger context (if we want to bother to get into the "left/right" divide on this issue, such as it is) the question of how to maintain cultural sensitivity without it turning into de facto inequal treatment, and, conversely, how to enforce equal treatment without it turning into cultural/religious domination.

And if we really felt like it, we could of course discuss, you know, possible solutions to the problem at home and abroad, although I suspect most people will be rather of one mind on that.
posted by kyrademon at 10:41 AM on April 21, 2005


[off topic]
Thanks for the post jenleigh. I just want to say you've done a wonderful job contributing to MeFi and with some great subject matter.
[/offtopic]

Strident religionists tend to infringe upon the rights of those least able to defend themselves it would seem.
Maybe that's why Jesus reached out to the maligned, dispossessed and rejected members of society instead of the religious and political rulers.
The good example to follow, as in "Christlike", interpreted as Christian, unlike some today who claim the mantle.
Same phenomenom in Islam, the haters seize power and yell loudest whilst putting their boot on the throats of the less fortunate.
posted by nofundy at 10:45 AM on April 21, 2005


Hell, it's not limited to Muslims. Roman Catholic priests have quite a history of abuse, too. And then there are the polygamist Morman cult groups, like that in Bountiful, BC. And I had a Sikh or Hindu friend back in high school that was pre-married. There are all sorts of minor cultie groups in which the leader is kiddy-fucking all his adherent's children.

True, and just as horrible in any case, but saying "Lots of other people do it too," doesn't really address the issue at hand, which is abuse in muslim societies.
posted by Cyrano at 10:52 AM on April 21, 2005


In response to billysumday, who said:

>please don't attempt to defend what these people are doing to others under the banner of "faith". Any defense of THAT bullshit is not fashionable.

I could submit a fairly long rebuttal, I'd really like to, trying to find, search and submit that genital mutilation happens in other faiths. I know of two such cases, personally, in the UK that were in immigrant familes over a Dowry and the other a Religious Icon being desicrated -- they were not muslim.

Of course, there's lots of variation and I could go on trying to make a point, but it seems my general understanding, my attempt at civil discourse is not needed here. I mean, I tried to be even-handed and avoid saying this was a trollish post, I think it's a good point and my banner of "other faiths" is not a defense. I think it's a bad thing being practised. I THINK IT'S BAD.

But, you know, your general tone and flippant attitude towards my comment prompts me to say: GO FUCK YOURSELF.

jenleigh, I'm well aware of the cases you mention, particularly out in the suburbs. There's been a few over the past years that have been really disturbing, and there's an active movement to try and make some headway -- including the Ni Putes Ni Soumises folks.

Regarding the explosion in Middle Eastern Men raping French women. I have not heard a single thing about that here, nothing at all. And I'm not just saying that to be convenient. I read both the right and left-wing dailies and over the past couple of years I would have seen something. You know, if you find a reference I would honestly interested in this idea. In the interim, I know a couple of cops over here and I'm gonna collar them and ask about this. And once again, I want to say I find the crimes abhorent. However, it's come to a point where it's become a convenient scapegoat.
posted by gsb at 10:54 AM on April 21, 2005


Paris has seen an explosion of rapes committed by Middle Eastern males against French women in the past 15 years

Uh? I'd like to see actual figures to back this up. This (and most of the linked article) sounds like the typical right-wing rant about our raping, baguette-stealing, lawless immigrant overlords.

I was talking to an elderly French women the other day, and she was telling me that when she was a teen growing in post-WW2 France, there were packs of Arabs out there gang-raping French girls. But did she actually met anyone who was gang-raped by Arabs, or just threatened by a gang of Arab rapists or did she even remember a such case (that would have been quite famous and would have surely made the headlines in the 50s)?

Well, no.

So where did she get the idea that Arab rapists were roaming across the country?

Well, the neighbours talked about it, it was a well-known fact that Arabs gang raped women.

Says it all I guess. She lived in a safe suburbian neighbourhood, far, far away from the Arab communities of the time.

Now there are many difficult, complex issues to discuss when it comes to the immigration/sexuality/islam mix but then it's better done with hard data near at hand, not just 50-year old rumours from the recycling bin.
posted by elgilito at 10:54 AM on April 21, 2005


oops, the link for Ni Pute... is fixed here, sorry.
posted by gsb at 10:59 AM on April 21, 2005


I'm confused. "Muslim women in European countries 'are beaten, they are forced to marry,they are genitally mutilated, they by their parents to their country of origin and kept there against their wills," jenleigh, you use this quote to link to an article in which no such quote appears. Does this exact text appear as written in anything you've cited, or have you put it together yourself? I'm curious, for example, about the implication that female circumcision is practiced in places like the Netherlands, which is surely highly illegal and would result in long prison sentences.
posted by George_Spiggott at 11:17 AM on April 21, 2005


Great comments/questions kyrademon. I'm due for a nap, but I'd like to discuss those points later if it's not verboten to contribute too much to one's own thread—I've sensed that's a prickly issue.

Vanity Fair had a good article last year on Religio-Cultural integration concerning Muslims in France.


Daughters of France, Daughters of Allah


I traveled through the outskirts of Paris and spoke to a variety of frightened young Muslim women trying to reconcile their loyalties to their families with the desire to live a modern life, including chic intellectuals in suede pants or micro skirts, feminists who study the Koran, apostates who have received death threats, and devout activists who believe that wearing a headscarf is the ultimate act of liberation, a nonpolitical religious expression. Arranging the interviews was difficult; a sense of panic and desperation linked many of the subjects. There are few resources available for women fleeing their families. I soon learned not to react when women shrugged and said "Bien sûr" to the question: Have you ever helped women in crisis? There is a subtle code in the cités. One woman called it "the smile of recognition," which tips a person off to the need to give the assistance that is almost impossible to get in the national system.

True, and just as horrible in any case, but saying "Lots of other people do it too," doesn't really address the issue at hand, which is abuse in muslim societies.

That's where I'm coming from. We could posit endlessly on the ways these issues affect a number of world religions, but right now in Europe the focus is on Muslim immigrant communities, again, for all the obvious reasons. I don't believe it to be a witchhunt, but I do believe many in Europe have erred on the side of reflexive 'cultural sensitivity' while violence, plain & simple, is happening right under their noses, especially to young women, and is coupled with a hostility, often, to the very countries who host them. We do not owe fundamentalist Islam any apologies in this regard.

Does this exact text appear as written in anything you've cited,

George: the quote is from the very first source I linked: CBC news. The entire post is comprised of that text, with links going elsewhere. Sorry for the confusion.
posted by jenleigh at 11:22 AM on April 21, 2005


IN the 50's and 60's the US had what I call "the imperfect storm" when, for vastly different reasons both the right and left endorsed the same policies. At that time, modernist intellectuals thought that poor people's lives would be improved if they forced out of their old impoverished (but socially intact) neighborhoods and made to live in geometrically precise highrises surrounded by sterile concrete parks. Older white ethnics wanted black people walled off and separated white people, for the obvious reasons.

The end result was the "imperfect storm" of the Chicago housing projects, which satisfied both the right and the left but were a nightmare for everyone, most of all for who lived in them.

In Europe something similar has happened. The mulitculiti left insists that Western civilization is too morally corrupt and bankrupt to "impose" its values on non-western immigrants while the old right thinks that it's new brown neighbors are simply too animalistic in nature to be expected to observe common norms of decency or law. The result is a policy of esentially walling immigrant communities off from the socializing aspects of majority society. This malign neglect has been approved by and entrenched within otherwise opposing political cultures.
posted by Jos Bleau at 11:23 AM on April 21, 2005


what can i say...

(i'm dutch)
posted by mailhans at 12:15 PM on April 21, 2005


Jos, your comment draws an interesting parallel and it's definitely food for thought, though it does demonize both sides in its latter half. But for it to make sense you need to identify those policies of "essentially walling immigrante communities off from the socializing aspects of majority society." I haven't seen that documented here, or anywhere, and my naive assumption was that the concentration of immigrant communities were due to the usual immigrant factors of choice and economic necessity. What are some of the explicit policies that you refer to?
posted by George_Spiggott at 12:28 PM on April 21, 2005


saying "Lots of other people do it too," doesn't really address the issue at hand, which is abuse in muslim societies

The issue is abuse, period. The problem transcends religion.
posted by five fresh fish at 12:29 PM on April 21, 2005


Good questions, Goerge Spiggot, I don't have time for cites right now, but see this Christopher Hitchens quote from an article in Free Inquiry about this very subject:

"[The police] sandblasted a mural that had been painted near the scene of the crime [the murder of van Gogh], which featured only the words “Thou shalt not kill.” (The imam of a local mosque had of course complained that such a display was “racist incitement.”)."

Also see most Euro education systems/intelectuals adamant opposition to assimilationist curicula and ideals, the construction of vast public housing estates in France (and elesewhere) that are in effect concrete bantu-stans for Muslims.

There's much much more, but that wil have to wait.

Two things to remember (A) van Gogh's killing wasn't the first to 'avenge the honor of Islam' in Holland - it was just the first against a non-Muslim. And (B) his killer was born in Holland.
posted by Jos Bleau at 12:55 PM on April 21, 2005


I over-comment on my own threads all the time, jenleigh, so you certainly won't get any objections from me about it.
posted by kyrademon at 1:12 PM on April 21, 2005


Ah yes, another hue and cry about those dastardly Muslims, practicing genital mutilation.

Meanwhile, here in the US....
posted by telstar at 1:28 PM on April 21, 2005


Holy fuck. If I see someone trot out the fact that male circumcision exists in the U.S. as apologia for much more horrible FGM, I will lose my shit. They are orders of magnitude different, and it's only brought up by people who a) are think it's somehow equivalent and believe men are equally as oppressed by it, or b) will use any excuse, no matter how flimsy or offensive, to deflect what they think think is "right-wing" criticism of something "left-wing." For some reason, I think that a government protecting it's citizens from the religious/cultural pathologies of some of it's other citizens, and being proactive in assimilating these groups in order to prevent such attacks is not a "right-wing" concept, but because some of the brainiacs here think that America=teh evul and Europe=teh gud, I must be some Bush loving neocon troll.
posted by Snyder at 1:59 PM on April 21, 2005


It's really tough to sympathize with societies that have gone so right-wing fundy as those in the US. On the other hand, I feel tremendous compassion for the rational people at issue here. (They would, of course, be better off exiting the states, but that's a tangential issue).
posted by Sparx at 2:02 PM on April 21, 2005


*hugs Snyder for cutting.through.the.relativist.bullshit*

It's really tough to sympathize with societies that have gone so right-wing fundy as those in the US. On the other hand, I feel tremendous compassion for the rational people at issue here. (They would, of course, be better off exiting the states, but that's a tangential issue).

That's relevant to this topic, how...?
posted by dhoyt at 2:09 PM on April 21, 2005


I've tried to join this thread a few times, but the issues are so huge, and there is so much history that I've got no idea where to start. Anyway, here's my huge comment.

First - a pointer for people not from the U.K. If I say Asian, I mean brown skinned. I've no idea what the corresponding American P.C. term is.

Firstly, The murder of Gogh, although shocking shouldn't be blamed on the Muslim Community. As much as I'm tempted to blame the murder of John Britton on American Christians I know that it's wrong to do so. Muslims had every right to protest Goghs film. It was blasphemous in much the same way as Behzti was blasphemous. As the majority of pro-lfers will tell you, protest is fine, but murder, violence and intimidation is wrong.

secondly, there is the air of a crisis in many multi-ethnic communities in Europe. I can only speak for West Yorkshire, and I've heard so many theories that I don't know where to start.

The one thing I can say is that the Muslim and non-Muslim communities in many of the towns round where I live are becoming increasingly segregated, and the hatred and insularity that this is causing on both sides is growing. There are many reasons why this may be, but the Dutch media seem to be blaming it on a liberal policy of multiculturalism.

The rise of this "liberal multiculturalism" is increasingly blamed on ethnic segregation. Unusually, (given my political bent) I have a lot of sympathy with this theory, but no way is it the whole story. A focus by empathic councils on the preservation of culture has got in the way on a more aggressive (and less liberal) focus on integration. "You live your life the way you want, and we'll live the way we want" dissolves rapidly into arguments about geography.

There is a lot of evidence to say this is nonsense though. Here, where I live, there are two poor areas of town. One of them is predominantly Muslim, the other white and racist. I walk through the Muslim area every day on the way to work, and although it can be intimidating I find it less intimidating than the other. The integration and multicultural mixing you find in the Muslim "Quarter" is heart warming. It's common to see Asian lads decked out in street-wear and not uncommon to see white women wearing Shalwar Kameez. There is segregation, but at the edges, it's blurring. As always, this is more obvious with the younger generations (on both sides of the divide)

Back to the original post. There's no doubt that arranged marriages exist. I don't know if this is part of the wider Muslim culture or more prevalent in the poorer Muslim communities. As a human though I know three things. Firstly, if a marriage is arranged, then neither wife nor groom have much say in it. It isn't fair, but in terms of who decides what, it isn't unequal. Secondly, most people are decent, and a lot of arranged marriages are between good people who make the relationship work without violence or abuse or inequality. Thirdly, the poorer an area, and the more racial abuse people in that area suffer, then the higher the likelihood of violence and abuse towards women.

What I hate the most about the comments above is the fact that Asians who commit these admittedly horrific crimes are viewed as worse than an equivalent white person. "Trailer Trash dun Beat His wife with a stick". Comedy Gold. What do you expect. "Fundamentalist Christian killed an abortionist". Well, they are kind of crazy.

One Muslim done the same... Let's send them all home and blow the crap out of them
posted by seanyboy at 2:20 PM on April 21, 2005


For people interested in anti-FGC programs that actually work, I recommend Gerry Mackie's article "Female Genital Cutting: The Beginning of the End" in the collection "Female 'Circumcision' in Africa: Culture, Controversy, and Change" (eds Bettina Shell-Duncan and Ylva Herlund).

Mackie makes the interesting point that, where cutting is a prerequisit to marriage, girls can suffer consequences from not getting cut. Thus, parents are caught in a bind: they may not want to do it, but they also don't want their child to suffer in the future. What has worked tremendously well has been a "pledge" approach in which parents agree to not cut their daughters *and* to not let their sons marry cut women. This approach is culturally sensative, and, in the particular case she describes, is non-directive and concerned with multiple aspects of women's health. By taking a non-directive, wholistic approach, the program is able to generate trust between the members of the community and the health workers.

An important aspect of this example is that it depends on a certain type of relativism. We have to be able to ask questions like "why is this important to people, what barriers are there to change" before we can have any hope of making positive changes in women's lives. It doesn't mean that we have to say that everything "cultural" is good or worth preserving, but there has to be some kind of middle ground between pure moral relativism and judgemental paternalism.
posted by carmen at 2:46 PM on April 21, 2005


One Muslim done the same... Let's send them all home and blow the crap out of them

exactly. this shitty shitty post is really about one thing: muslims are evil. ok, two things. muslims are evil and europe sucks. a wingnut double punch elegantly hidden under a fluffy cloud of womens rights.
it's disgusting.
posted by mr.marx at 3:01 PM on April 21, 2005


Paris has seen an explosion of rapes committed by Middle Eastern males against French women in the past 15 years

Uh? I'd like to see actual figures to back this up. This (and most of the linked article) sounds like the typical right-wing rant about our raping, baguette-stealing, lawless immigrant overlords.

There are none. This is a rant from a guy who sounds like he's hanging with Jean Marie Lepen when in Paris. Clue: replace Middle Eastern males with "black males" and French women with "white women" and you'll get an idea of the kind of people who would generalize like that...

In Europe something similar has happened. The mulitculiti left insists that Western civilization is too morally corrupt and bankrupt to "impose" its values on non-western immigrants...

Err.. no? The "multi-culti left" insists that one doesn't paint all immigrants with one brush stroke. In France anyway.
posted by talos at 3:06 PM on April 21, 2005


Dhoyt: drive-by reference to this, which was irritatingly simplistic, if not ignorant, but not really worthy of much more effort.
posted by Sparx at 4:00 PM on April 21, 2005


exactly. this shitty shitty post is really about one thing: muslims are evil. ok, two things. muslims are evil and europe sucks. a wingnut double punch elegantly hidden under a fluffy cloud of womens rights.
it's disgusting.


You're dead wrong, mate, but I'll try to understand your confusion ;)

Just because one observes a particular, sometimes violent, dissonance between a host culture and an emigrated culture, there isn't always Racism or Discrimination at work. Sorry to disappoint you but I'm European myself, and a lifelong Atheist, and the feminist in me fails to see why I should turn a blind eye to this—I don't care if 'honour killings' are inherent to tenets of Islam, Christianity, Sufism or the Flat Earth Society. Fearing for your life because you spotlighted something you feel is very wrong is a terrible position to endure—ask Hirsi Ali, who has more or less been in self-imposed hiding for the last six months. I'm flummoxed why some are so quick to defend pockets of a culture which are totally antithetical to freedoms of gender, tolerance of homosexuality or any progressive strains of thought whatsoever. When religion is being used as a tool of fear or a means to justify violence, it is worth condemning, no?

I'm confused how you clicked all those links and absorbed all the information about rampant abuses, but chose to condemn this MetaFilter thread as what is 'disgusting'.
posted by jenleigh at 4:55 PM on April 21, 2005


a wingnut double punch elegantly hidden under a fluffy cloud of womens rights.

LOL. Oh. Marxie- if it was Oklahoma trailer trash born-agains beating their wives with broken beer bottles with the evil US authorities turning the other way... well now, THAT's a thread with some "Women's Rights" meat to it, huh.

Jenleigh - I'm with you on this one. Intolerant orthodoxy is FUCKED up and must be exposed where ever it hides.
posted by tkchrist at 6:14 PM on April 21, 2005


Snyder: I don't think anyone said male circumcision was as bad as female circumcision so I don't understand why you imply someone did. However, infant male circumcision without a valid medical need is child abuse. Performing an unnecessary and irreversible surgical procedure on a helpless child is precisely no more morally justifiable than tattooing or branding that child.
posted by Decani at 6:58 PM on April 21, 2005


Decani: It's not always unnecessary and it's not always irreversible. And it's only fatal a very small percentage of the time.
posted by Sparx at 7:08 PM on April 21, 2005


Dhoyt: drive-by reference to this...

Ah, gotcha. I actually thought the comment was meant for this thread. So much time passed between Paris's comment & yours I'd forgotten all about it...
posted by dhoyt at 7:28 PM on April 21, 2005


A take on one of the issues raised here is that rape is a common crime but political rhetoric seems to demonise one religion - Islam. Regardless of the background of the offenders, solutions should be sought within the context of the community in which they occur. Or what Joseph said.
posted by tellurian at 8:33 PM on April 21, 2005


Foreigners figure high in rape statistics

A rape committed by a foreigner in this or any country can label all immigrants at a stroke. When some immigrant youths gang-raped a Swedish girl, anti-immigrant feeling jumped upwards in opinion surveys, and we have also seen the damage done to the American forces' presence in Japan by a number of similar cases involving soldiers and Japanese girls. But the big question is: do foreigners really commit rape exceptionally often, or is it simply that more attention is paid to their doings? Of the rape cases reported to the Finnish police, in some 8-10% of cases the assailant is shown to be a foreigner. When the victims file their accusations, as many as 17% of the women involved believed the rapist to be of foreign extraction.

Women, Religion, and Violence

Perhaps the first step is to see how religion can provide source material for abuse.

The opening chapters of Genesis, according to some readers, establishes woman as second in creation and thus inferior to man and also the first to disobey. This reading fosters the perception that women are intrinsically disruptive, disorderly, unclean. Recent feminist reinterpretations of Genesis have not influenced those most comfortable with a male-oriented theology and a hierarchically structured marriage. Without suggesting that such attitudes about women's place, duty, and nature condone violence, these interpretations can make violence seem tenable as a vehicle to subdue what the man might interpret as disorder.

In the Hebrew Bible, Tamar (2 Samuel 13) is the model for the victimized victim, a position that abused women today experience. Amnon rapes Tamar, discards her, and refuses to marry her. The community responds by expelling her as a piece of ruined property, and the Biblical narrative forgets her. When a health professional encounters an abused woman he or she is often seeing a modern Tamar, a woman without communal protection.

In recent times, the murderous gang raping of Muslim women in Bosnia and in parts of Africa replicates the Tamar story. Muslim women do not report the rape because they would be ostracized as spoiled women. Although Islam does not condone the violence, the effect is quite the same. The man goes unpunished; the woman is banished. What recourse does she have but silence?

The concept of women as property has not disappeared in modern America. Some husbands (and some clergy) tell women that they must submit to their husbands.
Tamar's story is reenacted whenever clergy counsel battered women to forgive and forget, to turn the other cheek, to save the family and the marriage. Women are idealized as keepers of home, hearth, and children at the same time they are subtly discounted as moral agents, sometimes demonized as temptresses, and sent home to their abusers. Despite having no intention to harm abused women, clergy often do not hear their voices. Instead, women hear their fears discounted and their abuse misunderstood or minimized; women also report feeling blame or being made to feel responsible for what happened to them.


The Fundamentals of Extremism: the Christian Right in America

According to V. Michael McKenzie in Domestic Violence in America, belief in male superiority and gender role stereotypes within the family are common characteristics of batterers. And James and Phyllis Alsdurf in Battered into Submission: The Tragedy of Wife Abuse in the Christian Home say that the more rigid a church's teachings, especially pertaining to gender roles and hierarchy, the greater the likelihood of abuse.

Carolyn Holderread Heggen, an elder of the Albuquerque Mennonite Church, discovered that certain types of religious beliefs relate to spousal abuse. These include the view that women should be subordinate to men, that they are inferior to men, that it's a Christian virtue for women to suffer, and that Christian women must forgive their abuser.

According to McKenzie, several characteristics common among battered women are strong support for family unity, traditional values pertaining to the home, and acceptance of the female gender-role stereotypes assigned by the church. And religious beliefs and values are one of the main reasons women remain in abusive relationships.


Ah, so much fundamentalism. So much conservatism. But hey, let's condemn Muslims here. (After all, most of them don't look like we Europeans, and the dimwitted among us have been painting brown-skinned Mid-Eastern men with the same racist brush since 9/11).

I don't care if 'honour killings' are inherent to tenets of Islam, Christianity, Sufism or the Flat Earth Society....When religion is being used as a tool of fear or a means to justify violence, it is worth condemning, no?

That's just awfully nonbiased and downright peachy, jenleigh, that nonselective condemnation of yours. And kudos for your professed feminism. So very odd though, that, notwithstanding your relentless protestations of nonbias in these condemnations, you keep mentioning one particular religion-culture on the front page of MetaFilter:

"European governments are allowing Islamic fundamentalists to trample on the rights of Muslim women under the guise of respecting different cultures...

"Between 1915 and 1918 the Ottoman Empire, ruled by Muslim Turks, carried out a policy to eliminate its Christian Armenian minority....

Senators Charles Schumer and Susan Collins urge stronger action on Saudi Arabia | "Sen. Schumer said, It is a massive contradiction that a country we call an ally could be both so regressive in their own country and so brazen in its propagation of anti-American, anti-women, anti-Semitic books, publications, and practices. American security is undermined as the Saudi government exports these hateful commodities to millions beyond its borders, planting the seeds for new generations of terrorists and totalitarian Wahhabi leaders."

"It would appear that people are getting sick of the insurgency. But certainly many people here see the insurgency as the work of foreigners who want to turn their country into some sort of Islamic state, like Afghanistan under the Taliban."

Coptic Christans comprise 15-18% of Egypt's population, and are the MidEast's largest Christian minority. Violence between Muslims and Coptics in Egypt has flared up before, but relations inside American borders have been civil, most say. This month, an emigrated Coptic family of four were murdered in New Jersey just months after the father received death threats for his remarks about Islam in a chatroom on which Christians are allegedly "monitored".


Ach, well. One supposes we'll just have to wait breathlessly for you to get around eventually to your condemnation of Christians, Sufis, Flat Earthers, or maybe even the real roots of violence....while you personally flog Muslims for just a wee while longer, eh? In the meantime, I guess we'll just remain confused (or is that flummoxed?) about how you can click through a net filled with links about the abuse of women, but chose to [yet again] condemn Muslims.

Really, jenleigh. Axe-grinding is ok, and we need everyone's sharpened view. Chop Muslims ad nauseum, if that's your passion. But expecting us to believe you're not toting a prejudiced (and currently dull) edge in here is just plain silly on your part.
posted by fold_and_mutilate at 9:57 PM on April 21, 2005


Paris has seen an explosion of rapes
wow... that beats the dentata idea all to hell...

posted by five fresh fish at 10:16 PM on April 21, 2005


"I don't think anyone said male circumcision was as bad as female circumcision"

Male genital mutilation can be pretty drastic; in some cultures the skin is stripped all the way down the penis to the scrotum. In Central Australia, a second ceremony follows circumcision in which the penis is cut down to the urethra, the cut running the whole length of the organ - anthropologists call this subincision.

Often masculine and feminine genital mutilation are found together; for many such cultures, these practices are central to the way that their world is organized. Westerners seem to have focused their attempts at eradicating circumcision to FGM while looking up MGM more benignly - but they are often inextricably linked. If you are serious about this matter, you need to address the whole culture and not just the bit of it which enrages you the most.

Oh, and by the way, at least one of jenleigh's links lands you up with the Australian Civil Liberties Union, which is a holocaust denial organization with links to the British BNP fascists. Ms. Leigh, are you a member of the BNP?
posted by TimothyMason at 11:49 PM on April 21, 2005


TimothyMason: Exactly what I was thinking.
The post has BNP written all over it.
posted by seanyboy at 12:06 AM on April 22, 2005


I'm cool with the fact that jenleigh likes to shit on Islam -- G-d knows if around we all have our favorite targets to defecate on. what's much, much lamer is her insistence that no, she doesn't despise Islam -- I mean, most of us are at least sincere in defining our point of views. bah.

anyway, good luck to you and ParisParamus in converting to Christianity (or, say, Judaism) those 1.3 billion savages you keep posting, and trolling, about
posted by matteo at 3:00 AM on April 22, 2005


Decani: Look at the post immediately above mine. If it isn't as bad, or worse, why the hell did he bring it up? Was it because we had been talking about women to long? Or was it for the same reasons that posters like fold_and_mutilate, who thinks that talking about the Armenian genocide is anti-Muslim, or Matteo who is, sincerely, in my point of view, a dumbass, decide to fling whatever equivocation they can muster to prevent anyone from ever thinking that a Muslim might do something bad to someone, somewhere, at some time?

You know, maybe these attacks or conflicts between immigrant communities that are officially held at arms length from the more homogenous majority population (by some figures on both sides, I might add, but I bet if the Dutch or whoever would be more interested in assimilation and integration, then isolationist immigrant leaders would have a harder time of it,) are exaggerated or, hell, irrelevant, (according to some here,) but it makes it harder to tell whats what when people leap out of the woodwork to freak out every time someone brings it up. (Yes, I include ParisParamus here.)

TimothyMason, that's interesting, and I did not know those things, but telstar was talking about male circumcision in America, which, again, is an order of magnitude different from female circumcision, and what you talk about.

five fresh fish: While abuse exists among all walks of life, I think there are factors which are particular to these circumstances (isolated immigrant community, et al.) that, if dealt with, could stem some of these attacks and abuses.

Thanks for the hug dhoyt. :)
posted by Snyder at 3:42 AM on April 22, 2005


to prevent anyone from ever thinking that a Muslim might do something bad to someone

I'm saddened that this sentence is the equivalent of a failed IQ test, thus making it impossible to argue with you. anyway, for the more rational crowd here: as I said, one can say whatever the fuck one wants about Islam -- bring the crap on. just don't pretend you're this oh-so-fair poster if, as in jenleigh's case, all of your fpp's with the exception of a lonely Tom Waits post have either been about "Islam sucks" or "we're making progress in Iraq" or "Saddam was bad" or "liberals are lame". it's ridiculous.

as mr marx and foldy said, jenleigh may have very well problems with Christianity and with Sufism -- too bad that, around here, she keeps shitting only on Islam. if she admitted her bias against the turbanheaded hordes who mistreat women and worship the wrong God, like poor pitiful KabulParamus does, she would get a little more respect from those who disagree wirth her.

Iand anywyay she's defintely not a ParisParamus in drag -- she's more similar to dhoyt, MeFi's own Zell Miller, an alleged "non Bush supporter" who never loses a chance to shit on Democrats or to support the Republican outrage du jour.
I don't mind the fascism, I do mind the hypocrisy

the Van Gogh killing, Ward Churchill, Euroweenies, Iraq mass graves, and nothing else -- jenleigh's a freeper, and a LGF linkbot. nothing wrong about that, it's her point of view.

at least troutfishing doesn't pretend he doesn't like Kos, and I never heard amberglow or foldy say that in fact they voted for Bush and are impartial in their criticism. but then, unlike others, they're decent people.
posted by matteo at 3:59 AM on April 22, 2005


American male circumcision is a vestigial practice, much like the human appendix. People try to justify it in terms of hygiene, just as pork-avoidance or incest tabus are sometimes seen as prophylactic in origin. But its origin is elsewhere.

In the cultures which practice FGM, MGM is also likely to be present, and when it is, likely to be carried out with greater - and more painful - ceremony than its American variant. The symbolism is one of rebirth; the adolescent male leaves the world of women and children to start out on the journey which will make him a man. As part of the process, the male organ is stripped of its outer, feminine, cloak. In the female ceremony, the female child is stripped of her male organ and made fully woman.

Both in the case of the male and of the female, a bloody sacrifice is made through which nature is both recognized and refined. Upon the understanding of nature and of society which these practices express and confirm, these peoples' worlds are founded.

The resultant societies tend to be bifurcated, with very clear distinctions between male and female roles. I am of the opinion that, in general, these distinctions favour males and maintain women in a position of weakness. Many anthropologists - I am not myself an anthropologist - would disagree with me. Whatever the case may be, it is clear that if we want such practices to come to an end, we need to proceed with some discretion and with some understanding of the costs. If jenleigh really wishes to help the women who are treated in this way, she would do well to consult other sources than newspapers and political tracts. She might then be able to do more than gesticulate.
posted by TimothyMason at 4:22 AM on April 22, 2005


While I agree that jenleigh's posting history seems to indicate a particular set of biases, I also deprecate the use of posting histories to bash particular posts. I see nothing wrong with posting a particular set of links about an undeniably horrible situation worthy of our attention, regardless of the poster's "hypocrisy" in not condemning similar abuse elsewhere. If you post about, say, atrocities committed by Americans in Iraq, does it invalidate your posts to point out that you have a history of posting about that rather than, say, atrocities committed by Chechens against Russians or by Zulu against Xhosa? Every situation is unique and deserves to be judged on its own, regardless of what's happening elsewhere in the world ("How can you talk about X when Y is happening over there?" is a timeworn rhetorical strategy); all of us have our biases, which are irrelevant to the worth of our arguments or our posts. I might not agree with most of jenleigh's political stances but she seems like a perfectly decent person, and I think it's lazy and unworthy to condemn her and her posts wholesale because of some imagined hypocrisy and because her positions differ from MeFi Standard.
posted by languagehat at 5:19 AM on April 22, 2005


By the way that Middle Eastern upsurge in the rape of French women has been equally deemed imaginary and ridiculed during my enquiries. It seems this is quite a popular myth in the Alsace region, where the dark skinned immigrant population is very small compared to the rest of the country -- oh, and they were one of the few places to have the above average Front National vote.

I wrote earlier that I think the link was good -- I did not know too much about that Dutch MP. I understand where jenleigh is coming from, however, to deny any historical context to link selectivity is a little strange. Sure, a submission stands and falls on merit. But a short while back I remember a member's fascination with a stolen election and some folks berating that person, and I thought the posts were of a better calibre than the present one. Obviously, I'm no republican or democrat, no bias here, dib dib.

>"How can you talk about X when Y is happening over there?" is a timeworn rhetorical strategy

It is not rhetoric. If jenleigh had no history I don't think it would have been put forward. It's all inter-related. And posting about atrocities happening in X,Y and Z is about X,Y and Z, but posting about "how bad the Muslims are", with repetition is only about "how bad the Muslims are." I got that message and examples a long time ago.
That well worn saying, "Only Nixon could go to China", is so true. Leave the Muslims Are Bad Wagon to people further on the so-called "left." And before anyone says they don't do it, THEY DO -- in Europe (and that includes little old Blighty).

Oh, and yes, it's a very bad thing happening. I just wanted to say that before someone slaps me with an apologist flag, again.
posted by gsb at 6:53 AM on April 22, 2005


As a liberal, I appreciate this post.
As a liberal, I believe in balancing equality with liberty, and believe that to be the halmark of an evolved civilization. Of course, I realize that there are some impulses within that which Said would take me to task for. I also realize that women are ostensibly equal in Islam, under both the classical and modern views.
However, I realize that Islam has been tainted by a several factors. Tribal societies tend to devalue and oppress women. In the majority of the Arab world, especially in North Africa and subcontinental Asia, tribalism has held sway over society and government. Unfortunately, the majority of the inhabitants of these tribal areas are Muslim, though the attitudes evidenced tend to be blind to religion (the Christian community in Nigeria, for example, also has a fair number of genital mutilations). I believe that this is a synergistic evil, symbiotically existing with extreme poverty and deep feelings of persecution by the West of those cultures.
That leaves the tricky question of how to "fix" these abuses of human rights. I see a lot of blame in this post, but not a lot of suggestions on how to move forward. Forced assimilation doesn't work, and will lead to centuries of grudges. Segregation doesn't work.
I feel that a lot of the problems within these immigrant communities comes from their antipathy toward modernity. I don't feel that a lot of visions for the future specifically include not just Arab faces, but Arab goals and ideals. If these (specific) Arab men are to give up the inhumane oppression that they hold their women in, they're going to have to have a vision for the future where that power is unnecessary to make themselves feel valued.
posted by klangklangston at 7:47 AM on April 22, 2005 [1 favorite]


Jenleigh's claim to a feminist perspective is perfectly believable. There have been many feminists who have treated this issue with plenty of prejuduce, and jenliegh is not, by far, the worst (Mary Daly, for instance, called women who help continue FGC "mentally castrated").

I also believe that jenleigh's concern about Muslim women is genuine. However, good intentions don't always lead to good results. In some parts of Africa, for instance, women were successfully protesting FGC and negotiating change _untill_ Westerners began to protest. By framing FGC as "evil" and "abusive," the activists put local women in a difficult position. The activist frame drew an "Us or Them" line which made it impossible for African women to argue that they wanted change for themselves. Instead, African opposition to FGC got reinterpreted within communities as opposition to the society as a whole, which meant women couldn't choose local values AND no FGC, they had to choose local values OR no FGC.

MeFi is not something that goes on independently of the "real" world. If we are genuinely concerned about the lives of women, then when posting about issues as important as these, we should be careful to frame it in such a way that we do not create "Us or Them" lines that undermine Muslim or African (or whomever we are concerned about in a given post) women's efforts.
posted by carmen at 7:49 AM on April 22, 2005 [1 favorite]


A quick semantic point here...
What's a "Tribal society", and why does it apply to Muslims?
posted by seanyboy at 8:33 AM on April 22, 2005


The apocalypse is at hand. The posts in this thread have made me think that jenleigh's persepctive may have a real point to it.

Look, I do think jenleigh has an axe to grind against Islam. And I also think that the posts here implying that packs of Arab men are going around raping Frenchwomen are so much bullshit. But for god's sake, pointing out that certain Middle-Eastern cultures have a real problem with women's rights issues, and yes compared to other cultures, is not blind prejudice, as anyone who has bothered to look into the issue is well aware.

So now, I look at the responses here, and I think, well, is this what's going on in the Dutch government, too? Are there people going, "Hey, boss, I've got a great idea for a program to help out Muslim women in crisis!" and getting the response, "Why *Muslim* women? Are you *prejudiced*? Shouldn't it be for *all* women?" ... and there goes the notion of recruiting people from the community, who speak the right mix of languages, and have experience with the specific problems ...

Look, this kind of thing needs to be looked at carefully; as carmen rightly points out, misguided efforts to help can do more harm than good. And it can easily tip over too far, and then instead of helping women in crisis, suddenly there's racial profiling, incongruous prison sentences based on skin color, and the presumption that all dark-skinned men are wife-beating bastards. But the problem *does* exist, and is particularly bad in certain cultures, and needs to be addressed. The outright denial here that some cultures may indeed have particular problems makes me wonder if, possibly, there might be denial elsewhere as well.

And, incidentally, those of you talking about male circumcision? Get your own damn thread, and stop sticking your penis into this one.
posted by kyrademon at 8:44 AM on April 22, 2005


What LH said—and I appreciate you saying it.

I realize it might be jarring that among the multiple "Believers of Xtianity are out of control/silly/hypocritical/dangerous" front-page posts which have been the norm at MeFi for years, there are suddenly posts criticizing particularly egregious abuses in the name of Islam. But I don't bother weighing in just to spit on those Xtianity posts because 1) I often agree with them, and 2) the thread is often already too full of similar opinions.

When someone's posting history is uniformly critical of the US-gov't, say, I have no problem with it, nor do I step in to say they are "shitting on the US" or that they "hate freedom". I find it interesting that they're speaking out about an issue which is close to them at that time. Some people post a lot on the Flash movies. Some post constantly on voting discrepancies or intimidation. Some post on Iraq, or poetry, or gay marriage. I enjoy those posts. But that the same users always post on those topics? It's of no matter to me, and I'm not sure why it matters to you either. It just makes is seem as though you're dodging the issue at hand here.

Look—it's clear people post about what's close to them. My work and my fiancee's work has taken us all around Europe and the Middle East. For reasons that probably wouldn't interest in you, this particular flavor of oppression became close to us the more we made friends with Muslim women who all shared the same stories. The "But what about Xtianity??" response simply will not do. As LH said, it is a well-worn rhetorical tool that doesn't hold much truck here. I'm not going to speak in hushed reverent tones about interpretations of Islam—an ordinarily peaceful religion—which create much suffering.

I appreciate your perspectives, matteo & f_and_m, but we're all inherently hypocritical. And we're all biased. All of us. When you post about the US-gov't, I don't implore why you're not posting more about the evils of, say, the North Korean gov't. I enjoy those threads I don't agree with. It would be just as easy for me to ask why neither of you risks an ill word against Islam, but are quick to sneer at Christianity in numerous threads. Again, we are all hypocrites. It's human nature. So sorry, mates, I'm not going to apologize for focusing on Islam any more than I expect anyone to apologize for focusing on discriminatory gay-marriage laws, et al. If you're not interested, either post some contrasting links on the topic, skip it altogether, or start a MeTa post. Characterizing the posts as "shitting on Islam" is so simplistic & lazy as to barely merit a response, and the tedious "She's a Freeper" accusations are beneath you.

By the way: I have an email address in my profile. If you want to talk to me directly rather than challenging my posting history—or perceived Islamphobia—here in the thread, I think that would be more productive. I'd be happy to discuss it. I notice you don't post an email address, f & m. Any reason why?

h, and by the way, at least one of jenleigh's links lands you up with the Australian Civil Liberties Union, which is a holocaust denial organization with links to the British BNP fascists. Ms. Leigh, are you a member of the BNP?

Very funny.

Tim Priest, the author, was a detective sargeant in Sydney, AU for years, and first contributed that article to The Australian paper. The article, unfortunately, is broken in their archives, or else I would have linked from there.
posted by jenleigh at 8:59 AM on April 22, 2005


Here in Chicago I have friends who volunteer at Apna Ghar. From their website:

"Apna Ghar is a domestic violence shelter serving primarily Asian women and children, and was the first Asian shelter of its kind in the Mid-Western United States. Apna Ghar takes its name from a Hindi-Urdu phrase meaning "Our Home", and since January 1990 has served over 3800 domestic violence clients.

The Asian-American community, currently the fastest-growing population, demonstrates unique needs in language, religion, family systems and food preparation. Apna Ghar helps them heal and enhance their sense of dignity and self-respect. "

Thery do more than provide emergency services to battered South Asian women - by networkng with the local SA medical and business communitees they've both raised awareness of the issue and created an informal 'eyes and ears' network to help find those in need.

Many women from traditional societies who live in the west are virtually cloistered. The only outsider who see a veiled woman's face (and the bruises from a beating) may be the woman who sells her lentils or the nurse who vaccinates her kids. By getting them on the team, so to speak, women who have virtually no existance outside their homes can be reached.

They do a great job with the resources they've got, but they are just one group - much more can and should be done.

I'm posting this in an attempt to de-emphasize the political posturing and focus on the problems that may be going unseen in communities all arround us. And what part of the solution can be.
posted by Jos Bleau at 9:36 AM on April 22, 2005


And, incidentally, those of you talking about male circumcision? Get your own damn thread, and stop sticking your penis into this one.

What an odd thing to say. As I have argued above, the two are linked.

Jennleigh, if you are not a member of the BNP, you should be aware that your arguments and the way that you express them are extremely close - as they are close to those of Brigitte Bardot. That might give you some food for thought.

That there are criminal gangs in Australia of Middle Eastern origin is not at all astonishing. Look at the relationship between migration and criminality in the United States, and you will see that it is to be expected, just as Irish, Jewish, Italian and Afro-American criminal groups were a natural reaction to the conditions of urban America - and as the Scottish razor gangs were a natural reaction to British urbanization and internal migration.

BTW, Priest's article was originally published in Quadrant, and is available at a large number of Australian sites; I suggest you look carefully at the sites you link to.
posted by TimothyMason at 10:49 AM on April 22, 2005


"What an odd thing to say. As I have argued above, the two are linked."

Yes, they are linked. So are, say, Christmas and Easter. I would find it equally annoying if, in every single thread about Christmas, there was a vocal contingent that felt compelled to point out that Easter is a holiday, too, and they rather enjoy Easter, and shouldn't we be talking about Easter as well, and my, Easter Easter Easter.

Your particular comments are, in fact, much more relevant to the topic at hand than most on the subject, although they're still pretty much a tangential comment on a minor point in regards to the thread. So if it had never come up in previous threads touching on FGM, your comments wouldn't bother me. As it is, however, it does every single time, and I'm sick of it, and really wish the MGM people would start a thread whose central topic was immediately concerned with either MGM or both MGM and FGM if they really wanted to talk about it, rather than CONTINUALLY Eastering things up.

And, to practice what I preach, I'd really rather not discuss this any more in this thread.
posted by kyrademon at 11:30 AM on April 22, 2005


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