People, Polygamy, and Prayer

400px-Young_Saudi_Arabian_woman_in_AbhaA woman I used to work with is muslim. She is a great person, smart strong and funny, I always enjoyed working with her and we’ve kept in touch.

She reads my blog. Sometimes she has sent me private messages, commenting on posts. She has given me lots of support, but chided me at time too. That’s fine, we’re friends and some of the times she’s right. She has told me several times I should come with her to the masjid, listen to the service try to understand and see for myself the beauty of islam.

Finally I said yes. Yesterday I went with her to the masjid. Dressed in a headscarf and a black coat, I tagged along, trying to keep my mind open.

There was a long line of people entering the masjid. Or no, my mistake – a long line of men. They were queueing up to enter the beautiful main hall of the mosque. My friend and I went aroung the corner to a back door where a throng of women were trying to get in through a very narrow doorway. Many wore niqab, a cluster of unidentifiable people. When we finally got in, a narrow flight of stairs led to the first floor. A small room without any kind of beautification was full of women sitting everywhere, most of them on the floor or on folding chairs. My friend took me up front and showed me that through a kind of roster I could see a couple of people below – the imams. We went to the back of the room and sat down. And so the service began. We could herar through loudspeakers what went on downstairs. Still, it was kind of difficult to hear since many women had brought little children who found it very difficult to keep from playing and talking. Some of the women mumbled quietly to themselves, others sometimes clapped their hands. I could hear the man downstairs talking, sometimes in Arabic, sometimes in English. It was on the importance of zakat. When the service was over, the men downstairs crowded around the imam, to discuss religion said my friend. Of course, the women were not allowed downstairs for this. Some of the women handed out bread and candy. A small group of women were sitting around a young woman who was crying. My Arabic is good enough for me to be able to understand that she was sad because her husband doesn’t allow her out of the house except for the occasional visit to the masjid. Another group of women that I had noticed before because they had changed places mid service were talking angrily amongst themselves. My friend explained that the women were angry because a new wife had chosen to come to this masjid, the masjid of the divorced wife who had not wanted a divorce. They were saying she came only to flaunt herself before the first wife.

My friend was very silent. Afterwards, we went for a coffee. We sat silently, drinking bloody expensive Starbuck lattes. Suddenly she looked me in the eyes and I could see she had tears in hers. “Look” she said “I have never before seen my masjid through somebody else’s eyes. I did today because you were with me. And it hurt. I could see us huddling upstairs in that ugly little room, shut out from taking part, shut out from being a part of it. Just a sorry group of malcontent women. I’m sorry I brought you.”

“If that is what you finally were able to see” I answered “I’m very glad you brought me. That’s exactly what I saw too”.

Oxford Union: “Feminism has been hijacked by white middle-class women”

I argue that likewise, feminism has been hijacked by middle class muslims. If my white privileges make me unable to understand the struggle, and show solidarity with the struggle, of muslim women of colour, the same is true in the opposite direction. If white feminists look down on muslim women who try to become equal within their own cultural setting and belief frame, the same is true of muslim women who claim that their struggle for equality within the belief frame is of higher value, as here. Every woman who claims that gender segregation is her right, not a means of oppression, fights for a world where women are considered as OTHERS, a world where my right to walk side by side with men, pray side by side with men is trampled. Every woman who claims her RIGHT to be secluded in her husband’s home and says this is equality, is hijacking the concept and arming patriarchal men who want to say I am an unnatural woman for wanting to work. Every woman who claims the veil is her right and a means to be equal, is giving weapons to men who claim that women are the OTHERS and must assume responsibility towards the sexuality and morals of men and must behave and dress differently because she is the OTHER. Every woman who claims that a difference in biology should also mean a difference in society is claiming that racism and apartheid is intrinsically right. So the sisters in the global south who are claiming women’s OTHERNESS is a right are contributing to the on going subjugation of all women. In this article, white women are called to respect the cultural frame works of the global south. We are asked to respect people and not come and project. So why not call for muslim middle class women to respect our cultural frame work and not come and project? There are plenty of well educated, middle class muslimahs who are not individually oppressed, but have a choice. Why should not they, when they come to my space, show solidarity with my struggle within my cultural sphere but in stead scorn the struggle for equality that I have to endure? No – to all muslimahs in the West: If you come to my space, respect me, do not come and project!


This is the transcript of a speech given by Myriam Francois-Cerrah in an Oxford Union debate on 12 Feburary. She was speaking in favour of the successful motion “This House believes that feminism has been hijacked by white middle class women”, alongside Ava Vidal and  Linda Bellos OBE. In opposition: Inna Schevchenko from FEMEN, Michael Kaufman and Natalie Bennett (Green Party).

Ladies and Gentleman, it is a pleasure to be here with you this evening.

I know, I know – the apparent irony of my being a white middle class woman who believes feminism has been hijacked by white middle class women will, I’m certain, not be lost on you.

But – it is in many ways a vindication of my case.

After all, I am a minority within my own community – unrepresentative of Muslim women either here or in the global south, in terms of my either socio-economic profile…

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Ghairah in Polygamy

If I were to order anybody to do sudjud to another I would order husbands to prostrate before their wife, because of her immense rights over them.

If I were to order anybody to do sudjud to another I would order husbands to prostrate before their wife, because of her immense rights over them.

Mark was very upset with me yesterday. He came and asked me for a fishing rod of his, one my children and I gave him for his birthday many years ago. I told him I had lent it to Graham and he had taken it to the Chilterns. Mark exploded. He was furious, screaming things like I have given Graham everything else, couldn’t I at least let him keep gifts from his children. I apologized. I can understand his anger. But still, he has to accept that we are living polygamy. I can’t keep my two lives completely separate. He must learn to keep his jealousy in check.

A kind of Ghairah is unique to men whose wives are married to more than one husband. This kind of Ghairah takes the form of jealousy in a man, of a degree of resentment towards other men who are also married to his wife. A man is naturally disposed to this kind of Ghairah, and as long as he does not go too far with that Ghairah, his wife should be patient with him and advise him with gentle words. Muslim men must remember that An Nisa 4:24 clearly gives a woman the right to marry as many men as she chooses, as long as she gives herself to them to be what their right hands possess. Men must accept this and understand that women have been granted this privilege because they are physically and mentally able to keep many husbands, and govern them justly.

The Warped Wickedness of Mr Khalid Baig

The right to beat your wife, to have plural wives, to keep slaves and fuck them...

The right to beat your wife, to have plural wives, to keep slaves and fuck them…

I wrote earlier about gender apartheid in islam, and I mentioned an article by Khalid Baig. In another article by the same author you can see that he claims that the family in the West has been ruined by female emancipation. He says that families are divided by emancipation, women suffer from demands they are not equal to meet, men suffer because they haven’t got women at their disposal in the home and children suffer because they are abandoned by their mothers.

First of all I would like to state a few obvious truths that Mr Baig has overlooked. One: If women work it means that the family has a double income and can provide better homes, better food and better education to their children thus giving them a better start in life. If a mother works while her children attend their better school, the children are winners not losers. Two: if men started to own up to their half of the work in the home, the women would be sufferers no more. And by doing so men would come to know their homes, their children and their wives better and respect their wives more and women and men both would be winners. So: if men put their big boy’s trousers on and start acting like men, doing their half of all work in the home – everybody would be winners.

One thing that strikes me while reading Mr Baig’s article is that he calls the home “the home of the husband”. Like: “the wife should stay in the home of the husband”. Did you hear that? Not her home. Her husband’s home. And this of course is at the basis of Mr Baig’s warped and misogynist ideology. The wife must obey the husband because he spends on her. Because his work has a value and is paid, her work has no value and is not paid. If a woman in the West divorces her husband, she gets to keep half of the family assets. Because of course the husband can only earn because the wife takes care of home and family. The value of her work is equal to the value of his – in the West. In the warped and disgusting views of Mr Baig her work is worth only empty words like “being a mother is an honour and gives her high status” while in reality it gives her nothing, not even a part in owning her home. She lives in her husband’s home. His only. Because his work has a value, hers has none. He spends on her, no matter how much she works and slaves away she does not spend on him. That is Mr Baig for you.

He says that when women were given freedom, actually they became enslaved. Society broke down. Divorce-rates and social problems reached an all time high. Mr Baig: with the same kind of warped logics you can take a look at what happened to coloureds when slavery was abolished. Look at crime-rates among the coloured community in the US, look at adultery and domestic violence among the coloureds. Obviously slavery was better. Freedom has not given the coloured community a perfect life. So, we should reinstate slavery. Do you see Mr Baig, how sick and horrible your argument is??? I suppose you can’t because if you could you would not have written these sickening articles.

Mr Baig. Your ideology is the toxic medicine that keeps women in slavery and your part of the world in misery. Your ideology is what gives air to ISIS and Boko Haram.

Mr Baig. You are the stuff nightmares are made of.

Natural Differences, Natural Inequality?

darwinIslam is a religion of gender apartheid.

The focus of islam is sex. To be ritually clean is a basis for religious purity. A woman’s biology is used as an excuse to make her subordinate. Islam claims that a woman is lacking in religion because she has periods and lacking in intelligence because she is a woman, or “the other” as de Beauvoir would say. How to have sex, when to have sex, what to say when you have sex, how to clean up after sex and rules making women slaves under their husbands’ craving for sex, making her a tilth for him to plough however and whenever he chooses is at the core of islam. And hey – islam even grants women the right to take turns having sex with their husband at least once every four months so even a woman has some kind of right.

To keep women’s bodies under male control is the basis of gender apartheid. A man must have a right to keep his wives locked up, hidden, covered in a tent if she is allowed out. He must have a right to beat her if she ever disobeys him or if she denies him sex. She must be denied the right to divorce him and she must be denied the right to be her own guardian. He on the other hand must be allowed the right to divorce anytime he likes, to marry other women without asking his wife or informing his wife, the right to fuck as many slaves as he likes because of course he is allowed to keep slaves and fuck them just like Muhammad did.

Islam considers all of this equity. Not equality, because that is not just, no there should be equity not equality. And the great gift of being able to bring new life into this world is used by islam to make slaves of women. Or prisoners, which is what islam explicitly says – women are their husbands’ prisoners. Such is the honour islam affords women.

In this horrific article by Khalid Baig you can see how a muslim misogynist hypocrite tried to defend islamic discrimination and oppression of women. As you can see he claims that natural differences between men and women make equality a joke. I wonder what he thinks about racism? Science proves that there are many intellectual, emotional and physical differences between the races. Europeans have larger brains than coloureds, and less testosterone than Asians. Europeans have much better results in IQ-tests than coloureds and are less aggressive and hence less criminal because of their lower testosterone. Coloured races are better sprinters but worse swimmers because they have a heavier bone-structure. And coloured men are worse at anger management and staying calm in a crisis because of their hormonal levels. This also makes coloureds more in favour of hierarchies because those structures go better together with high levels of testosterone. So, if we simply look at biological differences, there are actually larger differences between races than between the genders. So racism would be even more justified than islamic gender aprartheid. I wonder what Khalid Baig has to say to that? Well, islam allows slavery after all maybe we should reintroduce colonial slavery then, since people like Khalid Baig say that biological differences justify inequality?

Of course, this is pure bullshit. Evil, stinking bullshit. Islamic toxic misogynist bullshit. Racism is evil. Gender racism is evil. It’s just sad that islamic misogynists like Khalid Baig are so utterly stupid and morally warped that they don’t even realize that their disgusting arguments for gender racism can just as easily be used to justify the worst kind of racism.

Khalid Baig and the likes of him are the stuff that nightmares are made of.