The Hypocrisy of the Feminist Response to Islam’s Oppression of Women


Editor's Note: This is Part III of an ongoing series by Robert Spencer highlighting human rights hypocrisy and fraudulent peace activists. For Part I, see "The Hypocrisy of the ‘Islamophobia’ Scam," for Part II, see last week's "The Hypocrisy of the Fatwa Against Terrorism."

Concerned about the Islamic oppression of women? The divine sanction for the beating of women (Qur’an 4:34)? The commodification, the polygamy, the child marriage, the female genital mutilation, the honor killing? Ah – that just confirms that you’re a racist, bigoted Islamophobe – at least as far as the British feminist writer Laurie Penny is concerned. And Penny is by no means alone: her article just provides a particularly egregious case study of the general tolerance of Western feminists for Muslim misogyny.

“Islamophobes,” wrote Penny with admirable certainty in the Guardian last week, “could not care less about women of any creed or colour.” These wicked fellows only criticize the Sharia mistreatment of Muslim women because of their bigotry and hatred. According to Penny, “misogyny only matters when it isn’t being done by white men.” Penny complains:

As a person who writes about women’s issues, I am constantly being told that Islam is the greatest threat to gender equality in this or any other country – mostly by white men, who always know best. This has been an extraordinary year for feminism, but from the Rochdale grooming case to interminable debates over whether traditional Islamic dress is “empowering” or otherwise, the rhetoric and language of feminism has been co-opted by Islamophobes, who could not care less about women of any creed or colour.

How does Laurie Penny know that those whom she tars as “Islamophobes” really don’t care about women? Because, as you’ll see below, some baddies from the BNP and EDL allegedly said some rude things. And that means that any critic of Islamic gender oppression must be using feminism as a cover for his “hatred,” doncha know.

Penny grumbles about a report from Student Rights, which she describes as “a pressure group not run by students,” that stooped to “vastly exaggerating a suggestion by Universities UK that male and female students might be asked to sit separately in some lectures led by Islamic guest speakers.” In the wake of this, she said, “unfortunately, rightwing commentators and tabloids seized upon the issue to imply that Islamic extremists are taking over the British academy.”