My Response to : Nine Parts of Desire (thus far)

Yes, there are many ailments present in countries we would deem predominately Muslim. Although, those problems are not the result of simply adhering to a book (The Holy Quran) but a complex web of social, economical, and cultural problems. “If we mean by Islam "what people calling themselves Muslim actually think, say and do", there is a huge spectrum of different realities.” (See Guardian Article attached hereto). According to one Muslim Professor, “ 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." To some it is more of an issue of power and control than Islam and Veiling.

The Quran is a text, which means that different readers will interpret it differently. It is not very hard to manipulate a text. People have done it to the Bible, the Torah, the Gita, and various other scriptures to further their own agendas. The author here has a definite agenda and has made a poor attempt as disguising it as a concern for the liberation of Muslim women. In view of the extraordinary size and diversity of the Islamic world, this fantasy about a monolithic and aggressive Islam is not merely the outcome of ignorance but outright racism. She restricts images of the ‘other’ (MUSLIMS) by concealing individual characteristics of members of this group. Is it fair to reduce the living data base we have present in those lands as monolithic, authoritative and barbaric? Does she have any right to take out cultural practices out of context and view them within the construct of our own society?

While she has every right to her own opinion but as the author she also bears the responsibility of ‘accurately depicting’ glimpses of unknown cultures (for the mainstream) for they may be the only ‘snapshots’ the reader might have of that culture. As we’re aware when a book distorts or misinterprets information about a culture, such information can lead to misunderstanding of that culture.

I don’t understand why the author doesn’t point out that there’s a ongoing struggle between the masses and those in power in almost every so called Muslim country, that those corrupt governments are supported by the authors own country.

I don’t understand why she doesn’t point out there’re intellectual debates, on the very same issues she’s mentioned for over 1400 years, yet there isn’t a single study presented in the entire book.

I don’t understand why the author doesn’t address the question of politicizing Islam.

Throughout her book she uses symbols – for example, veiling - and shows a total disregard toward those who chose to adapt it. Why? To denounce the indigenous cultures or rather liberate them from their primitive ways to bring them into the more superior western way of life?

Her descriptions of things Islamic are filled with inflammatory adjectives and terms carefully chosen to elicit a negative response in the reader. The author seems more interested in the “Westernization” of Muslim women than their right to equality.

The author doesn’t address the real issues and problems of the Muslim societies, which by the way vary from one country to another. Rather she inflates Symbols over substance, adding yet another Islam phobic book to the ever-growing pile.

There are two great articles that might be of relevance:

Feminism as imperialism
George Bush is not the first empire-builder to wage war in the name of women

Six views of the west's problems with the Muslim world reveal as much about those who hold them as the conflict itself

A book on the Western World, according to her, would focus around spousal abuse victims and strip clubs of New York. As you’re taken through the life of three victims you’ll be asked to judge the complex culture of the entire Western World based on those two outlets. How absurd is that?