The Effect Of Colonialism On The Muslim Feminist Discourse

Who knew ‘Western Feminism’ was used as a weapon against the indigenous population of Egypt? Who knew it is still being used today. gulp. (Afghani women take off your veils! Cast off your veils, cast off islam?)

Lord Cromer seems more concerned with Westernization than womens rights. :grrr:

Excerpts taken from Feminism As Imperialism:

"The classic example of such a coloniser was Lord Cromer, British consul general in Egypt from 1883 to 1907, as described in Leila Ahmed's seminal Women and Gender in Islam. Cromer was convinced of the inferiority of Islamic religion and society, and had many critical things to say on the "mind of the Oriental". But his condemnation was most thunderous on the subject of how Islam treated women. It was Islam's degradation of women, its insistence on veiling and seclusion, which was the "fatal obstacle" to the Egyptian's "attainment of that elevation of thought and character which should accompany the introduction of Western civilisation," he said. The Egyptians should be "persuaded or forced" to become "civilised" by disposing of the veil.

And what did this forward-thinking, feminist-sounding veil-burner do when he got home to Britain? He founded and presided over the Men's League for Opposing Women's Suffrage, which tried, by any means possible, to stop women getting the vote.

[..] in Egypt, Cromer actively ensured that women's status was not improved: he raised school fees (so preventing girls' education) and discouraged the training of women doctors."

“But, like Bush, they stole feminist language in order to denounce the indigenous culture; and, says Ahmed, feminism thus served as a "handmaid to colonialism". "Whether in the hands of patriarchal men or feminists," she writes, "the ideas of western feminism essentially functioned to morally justify the attack on native societies and to support the notion of comprehensive superiority of Europe."

And heres what Dr. Umar Faruq has to say:

"What blocks full participation of Muslim women today is not pious adherence to a patriarchal law-- although Verses and Traditions are sometimes used as sledge hammers--but it is that some men have vested interests in blocking women's rights and camouflage their self-interest by denying full access to our inspirational tradition."