What is Muslim Oppression?


There are a lot of really awful things that happen under the umbrella of Islam, people getting raped, stoned, having their hands chopped off, etc.  There is a lot of oppression that can occur in the Muslim world and in the west, a lot of feminists have seized on the idea of wearing traditional Muslim garb, be it burkas or hajibs or whatever, is a symbol of the inherent oppression of women by men within the Muslim religion.

However, I saw a bunch of pictures of Muslim women go by on Tumblr where they were holding signs saying they are not oppressed, they are wearing these things by choice and I think that’s something that  a lot of western feminists really miss when they claim it’s all oppressive.  It’s that these women choose, of their own free will, to go by the standards and beliefs of Islam.  They choose to do the things they do.  A link to the Tumblr posting that I saw, where this and many other similar pictures reside, is here.

And isn’t it their right to make their own decisions about how they dress and how they act?  Isn’t freedom supposed to be one of the things that western culture values above all else?  After all, we have no evidence that Muslim men are holding women at gun point and forcing them to put on these clothes against their will.  The women believe in Islam just as strongly as the men.

In fact, what a lot of western feminists are doing is demanding the “right” for Muslim women to behave like western women.  Well guess what?  they’re not western women!  What western feminists want is for non-western women to reject their own culture and beliefs out of hand so that the western feminists feel better about western culture.  It isn’t so much that they dislike how these women are treated, it’s that these women haven’t jumped on the western culture bandwagon and started acting like western feminists.

Now I have no love for Islam, I think it’s as idiotic as every other religion, but the people who practice it have the same right to do so as people in the west have not to.  If they want to dress in a burka, so be it.  It’s not my place to tell them they cannot.  You are not being inherently oppressed by a religion that you choose to practice, just because it goes against what other people believe.  According to a lot of Muslim women that I’ve seen, what happens to women in the western world is oppression too.  It’s all a matter of opinion.  And that’s the thing, opinions are like assholes, everyone has them and, at least according to the people who disagree, they all stink. Maybe instead of criticizing someone’s choices because they’re not what you might have chosen, maybe you should worry about people who are actually being forced to do things against their will.  That’s oppression.  Not wearing a particular piece of clothing.

41 thoughts on “What is Muslim Oppression?

    1. I agree with you, no religion ought to provide any extra rights whatsoever to the believer. You follow the law of the land and your religion does not provide a "get out of jail free" card.

  1. " It’s that these women choose, of their own free will, to go by the standards and beliefs of Islam."

    I agree that individuals should not and must not be forced by use of physical assault or law to believe one thing over another or accept one practice over another. But I am curious as why you think that these women are acting out of free will? Is not religious belief a form of social and cultural indoctrination? How can you be sure that the choice you say these women are exercising is actually a free-will choice and not the result of religious indoctrination? Are you not opposed to religious indoctrination? Are you not an advocate of the use of one's right to free speech to argue against religious indoctrination? Have we not an obligation to attempt to persuade these women to abandon their Islamic beliefs?

    "Maybe instead of criticizing someone’s choices because they’re not what you might have chosen, maybe you should worry about people who are actually being forced to do things against their will."

    Why can not both be done? What rationale is there for doing one to the exclusion of the other?

    "In fact, what a lot of western feminists are doing is demanding the “right” for Muslim women to behave like western women."

    I have not heard any "western feminists" saying they demand any such right. But then I've not read the writings of every feminist. So perhaps to substantiate this claim you will provide several links to articles or feminist writings where such a right is being demanded. Or is this just an opinion formed not from actual instances of this happening but from a prejudice you hold toward feminists and feminism? I am also curious as to why you put quote marks around the word right in this sentence?

    Seems to me your hatred of feminism is so deep that you are willing to take an accommodationist position toward Islam simply to lash out at feminists, as if feminists and feminism are a more threatening evil than the religion of Islam.

    1. Because they say they are. There isn't any evidence that they were forced to post pictures on Tumblr. If you want to assume that, that's up to you, but until you can provide evidence that they're being forced to do so, it remains your opinion. Like it or not, everything is cultural indoctrination. Everything you believe, everything I believe, all of it stems from what we were taught, both by our parents and by the society in which we were raised. Some people can overcome that, some people can't, but so long as they are not being forced to act the way they act or think what they think, it's their opinion and they have every right to it, just as you do. You have no right to demand that they change.

      1. I am not assuming they were forced to place those pictures on Tumblr and you damn well know I did not say that. Being forced is not the only means by which a person may not be acting out of free choice or free will. It is not truly a free choice if you have not been exposed, for whatever reason, to all the possible options before making a choice. A person raised in an environment in which only one religion is taught to the exclusion of all others can't be said to be making a free choice when it comes to believing in that religion and acting on that belief.

        I find it curious that this is the only part of my comment to which you responded. Again you have ignored the request for evidence for one of your assertions.

        You failed to answer the question why criticizing and challenging a person's choice and criticizing those acts where people are "actually being forced to do things against their will" can't both be done or should not be done simultaneously?

        Of course everyone has a right to their opinion. But they do not have the right you seem to be advocating: the right not to have that opinion challenged. I am not and was not demanding that they change. But I do have the right, and I think I was exercising it, to argue that I or anyone else is permitted to challenge their opinion and attempt to persuade them their opinion is wrong, explain to them why it is wrong and why they should abandon it. What do you find wrong with this view? It is what you are essentially doing every time you post one of your commentaries, whether it be about christianity, feminism, social justice or any other topic.

        1. You're the one who is asserting they are acting against their will. Go ahead and prove it. Just because you don't like what they're doing, just because you think you wouldn't act the same way, doesn't mean they're not.

          So please, try again.

          1. I see you have managed to turn things all around again. I never said definitively that they were not acting out of free will. I did raise the possibility that they were not actually exercising free will. I challenged your assertion that they definitely were acting out of free will. You offered free will as the default position and challenge me to prove they were not acting out of free will. But the burden is upon you to substantiate with an argument that consists of more than an assertion that they were making a free choice. In a follow-up I explained how it could be that their choice was not truly free without force playing a role. Instead of addressing this point, you resort to deforming my comments from what I said to something I did not say and then telling me I have to prove the assertion I did not actually make. But you definitely made an assertion. You asserted that their choice was a free one and that they acted on the basis of free will. We haven't gotten into a debate about free will. I suggest you do some research on the topic before you continue to assume that free will, at least in the form in which you appear to be using it, actually exists. You may be surprised to find out that there is considerable debate on this topic. Even cognitive neuroscience has produced some research that calls into question our traditional notions of free will. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neuroscience_of_free

            Finally, whether these women were or were not acting out of free will is not the main issue. You have yet to offer anything resembling a convincing argument that the opinion expressed by these women should and/or must be left unchallenged. I have argued that no one should expect that a belief or opinion of theirs is so sacred that it is exempt from being challenged or criticized. You seem to be advocating the opposing view. You criticized these so-called western feminists for challenging the beliefs of these Muslim women. Why are these beliefs exempt from criticism?

          2. No, I'm just acknowledging reality, something you don't seem to be able to do. I'm not going to get into a discussion of free will, I find those discussions pointless since nobody can ever agree exactly what constitutes free will. However, what you think and believe were pushed into your head through cultural and social indoctrination, just like everyone else. Your opinions are shaped by the society in which you live, just like everyone else. To say that those people over there are wrong because they were raised with a different cultural and social indoctrination than you were is absurd. Your opinions are noted, your opinions don't make reality.

          3. What reality are you talking about? This is not a discussion about anyone's version of reality. Again, you ignore my main point or you are too dense to understand it. It is not absurd to say that they are wrong in holding to the beliefs they have. If this so, then why the hell do you spend so much time criticizing christians, feminists, liberals and social justice advocates in this country. What I have said, and will repeat again, is that their beliefs are open to criticism and refutation. There is nothing absurd about me claiming the right to criticize these beliefs and attempt to persuade them to abandon them. This is the central point I made in my last post and that you completely ignored or were just too stupid to understand. Instead you accuse of me of not dealing with reality, as if this statement has any relevance to this discussion. It does not.

            I agree that everyone's opinions are shaped by their society. But that does not have to be, and is not for many, the end of the story. A person can refine opinions through self-education on the subjects relevant to a given opinion. One can move from opinions to provisional truths through investigation and exploration of a subject. One can determine through inquiry and debate if an opinion they hold actually matches with reality or should be abandoned. I am arguing that the opinions that you defended are in fact ones that should be abandoned. I have argued that I have every right to attempt to persuade those who hold those opinions that they should be abandoned. You are the one who has been arguing that I should ignore them and let them alone. And then you accuse me of not accepting reality when I choose not to do so. I accept the reality that these people believe these things. I do not accept your accommodationist position that I am obligated to make no effort to change their views. If you really believe and accept what you have thus far said, then you need to cease this very moment criticizing christians, feminists, social justice advocates, liberals, libertarians, and everyone else who holds a view different from yours.

    1. You've seen every Muslim woman have you? You draw the conclusion that all Muslim women are ugly because of the relatively few photos of Muslim women you have seen? This is yet another example of the inanity and idiocy that passes for intelligent conversation here.

        1. I keep coming back because I actually find it entertaining to challenge inanity and idiocy, to criticize it, and to provide additional sounds in the monotone echo chamber that this place would otherwise be. I may never change the mind of anyone here about anything, given that you and your few followers have your brains cemented in the intellectual equivalent of concrete. I just find it a form of amusement to shoot at clay pigeons. So sure, I know where the door is. And perhaps one day I'll exit to spend more time where those involved in the conversation have considerably more intellectual depth and breadth than is exhibited here. In fact, on those occasions when I am away for several days that is what I am doing. Spending time with those who present more an intellectual challenge than what is found here. So I'll keep coming back until I tire of you all and no longer find it amusing or entertaining to challenge the inanity that masquerades as logical, rational, intelligent discussion amongst you and your fellow clowns.

          1. But you pretty much talk to yourself since no one really reads your long drawn out dull comments

          2. You are likely wrong about this. Unless you, Alinsky and Guest are the only readers of this blog, there are others out there who read but don't comment. There is hope that they have the intellectual integrity that you lack, read the substantive comments I make, and are sufficiently warned to avoid the intellectual pollution that you and the others belch out on a daily basis.

    1. Perhaps you could stay on topic, that is if it isn't too intellectually challenging for you. How are her looks relevant to the original post or any of the follow-up comments? Or perhaps it strains your intellect to much to formulate a response that actually contributes something of value or relevance to the conversation.

      1. They're not, there were actually a bunch of different images, I picked that one, not for the person, but for the message. There were, as I recall, some very pretty Muslim women I could have picked from.

        1. Glad to hear you say so. But Guest needs to answer the question since he is the one that targeted the looks of this woman and then made the assertion that all Muslim women are ugly. Guest is the one who instead of staying on topic and contributing something of relevance, jumped into the mud-pit and began slinging mud. And why am I the only one taking him to task for it? You think what he said is okay? You think what he said should not be challenged and criticized?

          1. He's welcome to his opinion. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. If he doesn't personally find Muslim women to be pretty, that's up to him. I find it a bit short-sighted but that's just my opinion. There is no objective standard to beauty, sorry.

          2. I never said he is not permitted to have or express his opinion. But this particular opinion was a very bigoted one. He stereotyped an entire category of people – muslim women – on the basis of the picture of this one woman and what certainly is but a small sample of others he has seen in his lifetime. And this is what makes this opinion subject to condemnation. The fact that you won't criticize or condemn it because he is entitled to his opinion is just lame. If your statement reflects your view of how opinions should be dealt with, then you should refrain from every criticizing a person's opinion on anything. Otherwise your just a hypocrite.

            You say you think his opinion is "short-sighted." Just what the hell does that mean? Bigoted, mean, unfounded, ignorant, uninformed, narrow-minded, irrelevant, These are all terms that would make sense to use in describing this particular opinion. But short-sighted? That is a description that in this context makes no sense at all.

          3. It is not his place to criticize or monitor me, nor is it yours. You appear to be very OCD. You get one idea in your head, and you focus on it, like a duck on a Junebug. You really ought lighten up, you are acting like a Yenta.

            You might think my statement was bigoted.
            I don't.

            Those women are fug-ugly.

            All of them.

          4. It most certainly is my place to criticize you. Whereever did you get the idea that things you say are and ought to be exempt from criticism? You support free speech, but only if you are free of criticism?

            Your original statement was bigoted because you said that all Muslim women are ugly and I have no doubt that this conclusion was based on a very limited data set. Such sweeping generalizations from a limited data set about the attributes of a group of people is bigotry. You are a bigot when it comes to Muslim women. I suspect you are a bigot when it comes to Arabs in general.

            Finally, whether any of those women are or are not ugly is, as I said in an earlier post, completely irrelevant to the topic of the original post. Your comment added nothing of relevance or value to the discussion. So what motivation must have underlain the expression of your comment? I surmise that it must be some form of bigotry. Why else drop it into this conversation? It was a mean and hateful thing to say. Now, I am not saying you haven't a right to say mean and hurtful things. But saying them just for the sake of saying them serves no useful purpose in the discussion of the topic that was being discussed.

          5. Cephus, sorry of I got your other resident Troll all fired up.

            Although you say that there is no objective standard of beauty, I feel there is a subjective standard.

            ……….and those women aren't good subjects.

          6. Sure there is a subjective standard, most standards are subjective. You like what you like, you dislike what you dislike and nobody is right or wrong. That said though, I don't think generalizing about an entire group of people makes a lot of sense. If someone you considered attractive converted to Islam, would they become unattractive? Islam isn't a race, it's a belief system. Anyone can, in theory, convert to that belief system.

          7. I agree with what you said.

            Of course, you do realize, that I am just being intentionally obnoxious, just to get under his skin.

          8. Yes. the only people who have less of a sense of humor than Muslims are Lesbians. All a bunch of joyless C unts.

          9. A sense of humor is rather individual, I can't tell anyone what they must laugh at, it would be 'brain washing' something you have blamed on religion but seem rather willing to do with Destroy and his sense of humor.

          10. Then this makes you a troll. It also makes an asshole. Trying to annoy people just for the sake of annoying them is a very tacky, unvirtuous character flaw. That said, if your aim is "to get under my skin" (annoy me) then you aren't very talented at this. I know you mistake my comments as expressions of annoyance. But they are not. It simply is my habit to not leave unchallenged nor uncriticized anything that is deserving of being challenged or criticized.

            So keep on being a troll and avoid contributing anything of substance or relevance to the discussions. I find your lack of intellectual effort rather amusing.

          11. To be honest, you remind me of my wife.
            When you get on an endless "loop" you are like a gerbil on a treadmill.

            You get focused on one idea in your head, and that is all we are going to hear about. Over………..and over………..and over………..and over…………..

            Your debating skills are evidently based on the sands of an hourglass. You apparently think that one grain at a time, you are going to wear folks out, and etch your own ideas into them. It won't work.

            You can be summed up with one word.


  2. I'm waiting for the first Saudi Ms. Mohamed pageant. 9 year old girls for brides. I try to tell myself it's they're culture don't judge but that's sick.

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