Monday, 28 January 2013 19:40 Basil Venitis Editorial Dept - Philosophy
We have a moral obligation to liberate all Muslim women from the yoke of Sharia. Canadian Muslim author Irshad Manji recently visited Malaysia to promote her new book, Allah, Liberty and Love.

But Muslims in Malaysia didn't feel the love and were not amused, angrily demanding that her book be banned and that she never be allowed to set foot in Malaysia again!

Apparently the pseudomild, pseudomodern and pseudomoderate Muslims of Malaysia didn't get the memo. Or the fact that crowds of Malaysian Muslims haven't openly called for her death yet should be considered moderation!

Anke Vandermeersch points out the Sharia, i.e. the Islamic law, teems with barbarous prescriptions that conflict with the generally accepted principles on which our European civilization is founded, e.g. the observance of personal liberties, the equality of woman and man, or the protection of physical integrity. The Sharia denies each individual his personal free choice, imposes the inequality of the sexes, exhibits absolute intolerance against the heterodox and promotes inhuman punishment.

Political parties and non-governmental organisations have opposed Irshad's visit to Malaysia, claiming that Irshad reported to have openly admitted to being a lesbian has insulted Islam with her writings and attitude. Irshad's views on Islam such as her opinion that a non-Muslim need not convert to be married to a Muslim have gained the Ugandan-born Canadian author infamy.

Vandermeersch notes the first and foremost victims of Islamization are women. Females in the Muslim world, but also in the Islamic communities of Europe, are systematically discriminated against, oppressed and molested. According to Islam, women are subordinate to men, as they owe their fathers and husbands unquestioning obedience. In Islamic tradition, the men invariably take all important decisions in the stead of their wives and daughters. Islam dictates, a man may chasten his wife, if necessary, in order to keep her in line.

The Islamic Development Department director-general Datuk Othman Mustapha will review Irshad's book. They will be getting copies of the book soon. Once they have gone through and discover reasons that it should be banned, they will propose it to the Home Ministry. The title alone is probably enough of a reason to ban Irshad's book, as far as the Muslims of the religious police are most likely concerned. The review process is merely a formality.

Hey! I wish to deliver the keynote speech at your conference. My speeches leave the audience thinking something new or resolved to act, stir the emotions as well as appealing to reason, and show a sense of occasion. I get away with elevated language because my liberty cause is a noble one. I practice a colorful rhetoric enriched with alliterations, metaphors, heightened imagery, emotional effect, and sound bites. 

Vandermeersch declares Islam is synonymous to humiliation and discrimination. Muslim women can only inherit half as much as a man. According to Islamic jurisdiction, the testimony of a woman is half as trustworthy as that of a man's. Furthermore, Islam coerces females into wearing head scarves, veils and even burqas, for women are deemed responsible for men's sexual restraint. Islam also considerably curbs women's liberty of action. Without permission of her husband a Muslim woman may not leave her dwelling. Along with Islam, savage practices such as honor killings, forced marriage, polygamy, and circumcision are making inroads into our society.

Despite protests, the Malay version of Irshad's book was launched before a small group at the Kuala Lumpur and Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall yesterday. Apart from the book launch, the 44-year-old activist's visit to Malaysia also included several speaking engagements but her programs have been cancelled.

We condemn the gender-based violence against women that is on the rise at all levels of Islam. In Egypt, it began in 2005 with the government's systematic campaign of sexually assaulting and intimidating female activists and journalists. When the regime attacks women and holds no one accountable, it sends out a signal that women are fair game. When the street then attacks women and the police stands by and does nothing, that continues.

A recent survey conducted by the Egyptian Center for Women's Rights showed that more than 80 percent of Egyptian women face sexual harassment, groping, and unwanted sexual attention. This is a problem the Egyptian people must not hide from.

Egyptian women are attacked by the regime, women are attacked by the street, women are attacked openly. There is something about gender-based violence in Egypt that is horrific. We have to look it in the eye and we must speak out about it, not just when it is the regime that is doing it to women, but when it's Egyptian men on the civilian level who are doing it to women.

Irshad had earlier tweeted that the Borders bookstore had scrapped her event, citing security concerns while Monash University claimed it was pressured by the Selangor Islamic Affairs department. The writer's first book, The Trouble with Islam Today: A Muslims Call for Reform in Her Faith has been banned in Malaysia.

Princess Basma Bint Saud Bin Abdulaziz, daughter of King Saud, points out Saudis lack and urgently need fundamental civil laws with which to govern their society. Princess Basma would like to see a proper constitution that treats all men and women on an equal footing before the law but that also serves as a guide to Saudi civil laws and political culture.

PAS Youth chief Nasruddin Hassan has urged the Government to act fast, adding that while the Islamic movement supported freedom of expression, creative or literary works should not be used to promote ideas that were against religion and human nature. "We cannot support something that goes against normal human values, let alone religious teachings," he said.

Umno Youth also called on the book to be banned, adding that Irshad should not be allowed to come to Malaysia again. Umno is Muslim-led and is the ruling party, while the Muslim-led PAS is nominally in the opposition. Yet they both shockingly agree that freedom of expression is not compatible with Islamic religious teachings.

Princess Basma is not calling for an Occidental system but an adaptation of that system to suit Saudi needs and culture. In particular, the constitution should protect every citizen's basic human rights regardless of their sex, status or sect. Everyone should be equal before the law.

Veil and headscarf are not welcome in Fourth Reich (EU), because they are symbols of women's subservience, repression, incivility, and an increasingly divided Fourth Reich. Veil and headscarf make women invisible, transform women to zombies, invalidate women's participatory rights, flag women as evil temptresses, oppress women with barbarity, are brands of misogynist Islam, and are a security threat.

Princess Basma strongly believes that current divorce laws are abusive. Today in Saudi Arabia, a woman can ask for a divorce only if she files for Khali and Dhali. This means either she pays a big sum of money or she has to get someone to witness the reason why she is filing for a divorce - an impossible condition to fulfill given that such reasons usually are the kind that remain within the four walls of a marriage. Another way to keep a woman in the marital home against her will is the automatic granting of custody of any children over the age of six to the father in any divorce settlements.

Hail! A sensitive issue cannot be fully explained in a post, but only in a speech, in that magic eyeball to eyeball contact, baring my soul, and declaring truths that cause shock and awe. That's why I look forward to the invitation of your organization to speak at your conference.

Christoph Luxenberg has proven the Koran was first written in the Syro-Aramaic language, not in Arabic. There is also a difference between the tolerant verses of the early period, when Muhammad was still powerless and under threat, and the hostile verses of the later period. The Koran was made up by Muhammad as it suited his opportunistic goals for power, money, and sex.

Princess Basma points out the way women today are treated in Saudi Arabia is a direct result of the education their children, boys and girls, receive at school. The content of the syllabus is extremely dangerous. For one, Saudi young are taught that a woman's position in society is inferior. Her role is strictly limited to serving her family and raising children. They are actually taught that if a woman has to worship anyone other than God it should be her husband, that the angels will curse her if she is not submissive to her husband's needs. Girls are also strictly forbidden from taking part in any physical education.

Islam appeared one century after Muhammad's death. The first century of the Arab conquest shows the conquerors holding not to Islam but to Hagarism. Hagarenes claimed descent from Abraham through his slave wife Hagar, similarly to the Jews who claimed descent from Abraham through Sarah. The Muhammad of Islamic tradition did not exist!

It was only in the eighth century, when the rulers of a now-vast Arabian empire felt the need for a unifying political theology, that they cobbled together the Islamic religion. The key figure in this enterprise was the brutal governor of Iraq, Hajjaj ibn Yusuf. That's why Islam is such a profoundly political religion with uniquely prominent incivil qualities.

Princess Basma notes the focus in most of the Saudi educational system is on religious subjects such as hadith (sayings attributed to the prophet), Fiqh (Islamic jurisprudence), tafssir (interpretation of the Koran) and of course the Koran. The attitude is that learning itself, anything other than religion won't get you into heaven so don't waste your time. Princess Basma would like to see religious teaching limited to the Koran and the Sunna (the way the prophet lived), where the true ethics of Islam lie. The rest is blind rote learning of the most dangerous kind. It has left Saudi youth vulnerable to fundamentalist ideologies that have led to terrorism and abuse of women.

Geert Wilders declares Islam is primarily a dangerous ideology rather than a religion. Islam fails four major tests that religions should fulfill: Adherence to a religion must be a personal choice; no religion should demand that those who leave it be killed; a religion must never mandate the subjugation of those who do not belong to it; a religion must be in accord with basic human rights.

Princess Basma asserts that instead of wasting Saudi youths' intellect on memorizing quotations whose origins is uncertain (such as those found in hadith, Fiqh and tafssir) Saudis need to encourage them to think freely, innovate and use their initiative for the betterment of their society. Early Islam was a time of great creativity. Scholars excelled in sciences and literature. Islam should not be a shield behind which Saudis hide from the world but a driving force that inspires them to innovate and contribute to their surroundings. Princess Basma declares this is the true spirit of Islam.

The Arab Spring is a mirage! It consists of a mishmash of anti-government demonstrations triggered in most cases by police over-reaction and fuelled by economic hard times in Tunisia and Egypt, ethnic and religious tensions in Syria and Bahrain, tribal rivalries in Libya and Yemen, and by growing public perception that Planetarch Uncle Sam is tired of the Middle East.

Princess Basma laments the ministry of social affairs is tolerating cruelty towards women rather than protecting them. The only refuge homes that abused women can turn to are state ones. In these, women are continuously told that by seeking refuge they have brought shame on their families.

If they come from powerful families then they will be sent straight back to their homes in fear of the wrath of a powerful patriarch. As a result we have seen many cases of suicide by educated women, doctors and scientists who were sent back to their abusers. Princess Basma asserts Saudis need independent women's refuges where the rights of women are upheld and backed up by powerful laws that can override family traditions and protect women.

Princess Basma says the ministry of social affairs not only abuses women's rights but is also one of the reasons poverty is rife in the kingdom. A corrupt system that lacks transparency has meant that more than 50% of Saudi population is poor and needy even though Saudi Arabia is one of the wealthiest countries on Earth.

Greeks, Turks, and Britons have influenced the culture of Middle East for many centuries. Now there are many political transitions in the Middle East. Everybody recognizes this is a pivotal moment in the Middle East and North Africa. Hillary Clinton asserts the Arab Spring is an event comparable to the fall of the Ottoman Empire or the decolonization of the Middle East following the Second World War.

Princess Basma laments women in Saudi Arabia cannot get around or travel without a mahram (a kind of chaperone - usually a male relative). At the time of the prophet, women used to have a man to accompany them but in those days Arabia was a desert literally full of pirates. Today the only purpose of such a law is to curtail women's freedom of movement. This not only infantilizes women but turns them unnecessarily into a burden on their men and on society. Women in Saudi Arabia are not allowed to drive.

Wow! Smart words are more effective than smart bombs! Mighty words of a charismatic keynote speaker can transform your people to a new dimension of organizational climate, efficiency, self-actualization, enthusiasm, belonging, and motivation. I would like very much to speak at your conference in order to explain critical points much further.

Image: Canadian Muslim author Irshad Manji - photo:

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